Factsheet: Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT)

This factsheet is available in a downloadable PDF here. 

Table of Contents

Mental Illness
Family and Friends




Sometimes life can seem too busy to stop and think about our mental health. However, everyone feels stressed, angry, anxious or low at some time or other. It is important not to ignore these feelings and allow them to build up.

1 in 4 people experience mental ill health at some time in their lives.

There are many things in life which can cause people to feel angry, upset, or depressed:

  • Loneliness
  • Family break-ups
  • Breaking up with boyfriend or girlfriends
  • Arguments with friends
  • Moving house
  • Stress at school or work
  • Bullying
  • Unemployment
  • Domestic abuse
  • Money problems
  • Bereavement

Some Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender people may also experience:

  • Bottling feelings up inside
  • Trouble with ‘coming out’
  • Losing friends and family
  • Homophobia or transphobia
  • Difficulty coming to terms with sexuality or gender identity

Mental Illness

You may have been told that you or someone you know has a mental illness, such as depression, manic depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, a phobia, or an eating disorder (like anorexia or bulimia). This can be hard to deal with, but with the right kind of help most people who have mental illness are able to get on with their lives. Sometimes people may have to take medication or have other treatments, or go to hospital. You can find more information in the websites listed below, or by reading some of the other midspace factsheets.

Family and Friends

It’s not just the individual who is affected by mental illness, but family and friends too. If someone close to you is experiencing mental ill health, make sure you get support too.   You can read our carers factsheet for more information.


People cope with their emotions in different ways. Some people may cope by

  • Taking exercise
  • Relaxing
  • Talking to their friends
  • Getting professional help
  • Writing a diary
  • Listening to music
  • Meditating or praying
  • Pampering themselves

Some people cope in more harmful ways

  • Taking drugs
  • Getting drunk
  • Cutting themselves
  • Taking overdoses
  • Eating very little
  • ‘Binging’ on food and then being sick
  • Having risky sex

This sort of coping can make you feel better in the short term, but in the long term it may make things worse. There is support available if you struggle with any of these issues. Some of these are listed below.


Sometimes things may seem so bad that you think about killing yourself. Many people feel suicidal at times in their life, and it’s okay to tell someone about it. The best person to talk to is your doctor (GP), but you might also talk to any trusted person. For more information on who to contact for help, please take a look at our factsheets on suicidal thoughts and crisis.


Stigma and labelling can have a negative impact on mental health, or make existing mental health problems worse. People may not understand what it means to be LGBT, or what it means to have a mental health problem, and they may judge you or say things about you. You may feel isolated, worthless, or have low self esteem. This is not okay.

Often people are just ignorant about what certain names mean, and say things which are hurtful. It may help to explain to them, but you don’t have to do this alone. Seek support if you are experiencing discrimination.

External websites related to Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT)

These web sites may be useful. Please note that we are not responsible for external sites; if you find any broken links or inappropriate content please report it to the site administrators using the feedback page.

  • Being Gay is Okay!
    This is a great website for young gay men and women with top tips, real life stories, a problem page and other fun stuff
  • National Self Harm Network
    National Self Harm Network A survivor-led organisation campaigning for the rights and understanding of people who self-harm. http://www.nshn.co.uk
  • Know the score
    Know the score information line for the general public in Scotland providing facts about drugs and their effects Phone: 0800 587 5879 Hours: Seven days a week 24 hours a day www.knowthescore.info/
  • Sex Addicts Anonymous
    Sex Addicts Anonymous, SAA, is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so they may overcome their sexual addiction and help others recover from sexual addiction or dependency. http://saa-recovery.org/
  • GamCare (Young People)
    GamCare (Young People) Provides advice and support on gambling - you can also arrange to make an appointment to go to gamblers anonymous. Phone: 0845 600 0133 Hours: 7 days a week 10am-10pm http://www.gamcare.org.uk/site.builder/young.html
  • NHS Lothian Site
    NHS Lothian Website

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