Young LGBTQ+ community are three times more likely to have an eating disorder

New research suggests that young people in the LGBTQ+ community, one in five people (20%) have experienced or are currently experiencing an eating disorder. This is compared to just 7% of people who consider themselves heterosexual.

The study by charity, Just Like Us, found that a quater of bisexual girls (24%) and young lesbians (23%) have had eating disorders, compared to 9% of heterosexual girls. The research found that 18% of gay boys and 13% of bisexual boys have had eating disorders, compared to 3% of heterosexual boys.

LGBT+ young people’s charity, Just Like Us, surveyed 2,934 secondary school pupils (including 1,140 LGBT+ young people) in Years 7-13 (ages 11 to 18) across 375 UK schools and colleges in December 2020 and January 2021.

Chief Executive of Just Like Us, Dominic Ardall, said, ‘It is devastating to discover that LGBT+ young people are three times more likely to have an eating disorder and this highlights how society’s lack of acceptance can impact on your mental health and wellbeing.

‘LGBT+ young people are disproportionately experiencing tension at home, feeling far less safe in school, and struggling with greater mental health challenges – we hope that this Mental Health Awareness Week, schools and parents will send a positive message of acceptance to any young people that being LGBT+ is something to be celebrated and that they can be themselves at home and at school.

‘LGBT+ young people who are struggling with mental health will find it far harder to reach out for the support they need if they don’t explicitly know it’s OK to be themselves – we’d really encourage schools to take part in School Diversity Week (21-25 June) as a first-step in showing that LGBT+ pupils are safe and welcome in their school so that they feel less isolated.’

Read the full study here.

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