LGBT People

GLEN is working to raise the profile of LGBT mental health and suicide issues and to ensure LGBT people are provided with the support they need to flourish and participate fully in their lives

The Mental Health of Irish LGBT People

Supporting LGBT Lives is the most comprehensive study of the mental health and well-being of LGBT people in Ireland to date. In addition to examining mental health, the study looked at LGBT people's experiences of growing up, school, coming out, work, using health services and day-to-day experiences as an LGBT person in Ireland. Below are some of the key findings from this report.

‘Coming Out'

  • 12 years of age = the most common age to realise one's LGBT identity
  • 17 years of age = the most common age to first disclose one's LGBT identity to anyone
  • 5 years = the most common number of years that young LGBT people conceal their identity from others. This 5 year period coincides with puberty, school and a critical period of social, emotion and vocational development
  • For LGBT people of all ages, the period prior to coming out was particularly stressful because of fear of rejection (from parents in particular) and because of isolation
  • The majority came out to a friend or another trusted individual before coming out to their family. Friends and family, but parents in particular, have a crucial role to play in supporting LGBT people as they come out and this support can act as a protective buffer against specific stresses LGBT young people may encounter such as homophobic bullying in school.

'LGBT Mental Health and Suicidality'

  • 27% had self-harmed and 85% of these did so more than once
  • 16 years was the average age of first self-harming
  • 40% of females and 20% of males had self-harmed
  • 18% had attempted suicide and 85% saw their first attempt as related to stresses associated with their LGBT identity (e.g. fear of rejection by family or friends)
  • 17.5 years was the average age of first suicide attempt
  • 24% of females and 15% of males attempted suicide at least once
  • Over a third of those aged 25 years and under had thought seriously about ending their lives within the past year and over 50% had done so at some time
  • The 3 most common LGBT-specific stresses identified were: fear of rejection when considering coming out; negative school experiences; and experiences of harassment and victimisation.

'Mental Health Resilience'

  • While minority stress exposes a significant percentage of LGBT people to suicidality, given adequate support most LGBT people develop resilience to the stresses they encounter and live happy and satisfying lives.
  • 81% of participants are now comfortable with their LGBT identity, and the majority have good self-esteem and are satisfied with their lives.
  • Over 2/3 have come out to all their immediate family and their friends. 
  • Support of family (parents in particular) and friends as well as positive experiences in communities, schools or workplaces are critical for LGBT people's well-being and good mental health
  • Mental health resilience (i.e. the ability to cope with minority stress) was related to: acceptance and support from family and friends; a positive turnabout or life event such as the transition out of secondary school; support from LGBT community organisations and services; developing positive coping strategies and good self-esteem; and positive school or work experiences

Resources & Supports for LGBT People

Below you can find details of LGBT support services and some useful downloads: