The 2021 update

Although many LGBTI Australians live healthy and happy lives, research has shown that a disproportionate number experience poorer mental health outcomes and have higher risk of suicidal behaviours than their peers.

These health outcomes are directly related to experiences of stigma, prejudice, discrimination and abuse on the basis of being LGBTI. The 2021 Snapshot of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention statistics for LGBTI People provides a snapshot of what is known of the current mental health and wellbeing outcomes of LGBTI people in Australia. 

View the 2021 statistics

View the 2020 statistics

View the 2016 statistics


To improve health outcomes for LGBTIQ+ people we've developed key priorities for 2021. Find out more. 


SNAPSHOT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE PREVENTION STATISTICS FOR LGBTIQ+ PEOPLE

April 2021

 Although many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer people and other sexuality and gender diverse (LGBTIQ+) people live healthy and happy lives, research has demonstrated that a disproportionate number experience poorer mental health outcomes and have higher risk of suicidal behaviours than their peers. These health outcomes are directly related to experiences of stigma, prejudice, discrimination and abuse on the basis of being LGBTIQ+. This document aims to provide a snapshot of what is known of the current mental health and wellbeing outcomes of LGBTIQ+ people in Australia.

While Australian and international research provide evidence that demonstrate significant concern regarding mental health outcomes and suicidal behaviours among LGBTIQ+ people, significant knowledge gaps remain. This is due to lack of inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in population research[i] and data collection in mental health services[ii] and in national population-based data collections, e.g. the Census. As data informs evidence-based policy, this exclusion has led to inaccuracy in reporting and significant underestimates, which in turn impacts on LGBTIQ+ inclusion in mental health and suicide prevention policies, strategies and programmes, as well as targeted investment in LGBTIQ+ community-controlled health organisations that are best placed to respond to these health disparities.

Consequently, Australian national evidence on the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ populations relies upon a growing but limited number of smaller scale studies that target LGBTIQ+ populations, or part thereof. While uniquely valuable, these can have methodological issues relating to representative data collection and data analysis, and therefore may not represent a holistic picture of LGBTIQ+ people[iii]. Additionally, research that groups LGBTIQ+ people into a single group for analysis risks conflation and reaching conclusions that are not representative[1].

This document includes a range of language beyond that typically used by LGBTIQ+ Health Australia[2]. This is to directly reflect the terminology and classifications used by the various research papers used as source data in this document. Across this research, there is often little uniformity of demographic information or definitions of mental health concerns that supports direct comparison between LGBTIQ+ populations and the general population. We urge the reader to consider this broader context in which adequately estimating the mental health outcomes and suicidal behaviours for LGBTIQ+ populations remains highly challenging.

LGBTIQA+ Health Australia has collaborated with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to update the 2016 Sex and Gender Standard and to develop a new Sexual Orientation Standard in order to standardise the collection and dissemination of data relating to sex, gender, variations of sex characteristics and sexual orientation. These can be used by government, academic and private sector organisations in their own statistical collections to improve the comparability and quality of data, and we encourage readers to consider and use the standards.

Contents

SUICIDIALITY 2

Suicide Attempts 2

Suicidal Ideation. 3

Self-Harm. 4

MENTAL HEALTH OUTCOMES. 5

Mental Health Conditions 5

Depression. 6

Anxiety 6

Psychological Distress 7

USE OF CRISIS SUPPORT SERVICES 8

DISAGGREGATING LGBTIQ+. 8

Lesbian and Gay People. 8

Bisexual People. 9

Pansexual, Queer and Asexual People. 10

Transgender and Gender Diverse People. 11

Intersex people. 12

ACROSS THE LIFE SPAN. 13

INTERSECTIONS 15

REFERENCE LIST. 17

 

SUICIDIALITY

Suicide Attempts[3]

Compared to the general population, LGBTIQ+ people are more likely to attempt suicide, specifically:

  • LGBTQA+ young people aged 16 to 17 were almost three times more likely to have attempted suicide in the past 12 months
  • LGBTQA+ young people aged 16 to 17 were almost five times more likely to have attempted suicide in their lifetime
  • LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 are five times more likely
  • Transgender people aged 14-25 are fifteen times more likely
  • People with an intersex variation aged 16 and over are nearly six times more likely

 

Statistics for LGBTIQ+ populations

  • 11% of LGBTQA+[4] young people aged 16 to 17 had attempted suicide in the past 12 months[iv]
  • 6% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 16 to 17 had attempted suicide in their lifetime[v]
  • 16% of LGBTI[5] young people aged 16 to 27 reported that they had attempted suicide[vi]
  • 8% of bisexual[6] people aged 18 and over reported that they had attempted suicide[vii]
  • 2% of LGBTI[7] people aged 18 and over reported having attempted suicide in the past 12 months (13.7% of trans men, 10.9% of trans women, 6.8% of non-binary participants, 4.2% of cisgender women and 3.3% of cisgender men), and 30.3% of LGBTI people aged 18 and over reported having attempted suicide at some point during their lives[viii]
  • 1% of transgender and gender diverse[8] people aged 14 to 25 reported that they had attempted suicide in their lifetime[ix]
  • 35% of transgender[9] people aged 18 and over reported that they had attempted suicide in their lifetime[x]
  • 19% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over reported that they had attempted suicide on the basis of issues related to their intersex status[xi]
  • 28% of gender questioning young people between 14 and 21 years reported that they had attempted suicide[xii]

Statistics for the General Population

  • 3.8% of people aged 16 to 17 reported that they had attempted suicide in the past 12 months[xiii]
  • 5.3% of people aged 16 to 17 reported that they had attempted suicide in their lifetime[xiv]
  • 3.2% of people (4.4% females; 2.1% males) aged 16 and over reported that they had attempted suicide in their lifetime; 0.4% of general population (0.5% females; 0.3% males) in the past 12 months[xv]
  • 1.1% of people (1.7% females; 0.5% males) aged 16 to 24 reported that they had attempted suicide in the past 12 months[xvi]
  • 2.4% of people (3.4% females; 1.5% males) aged 12 to 17 reported that they had attempted suicide in the past 12 months[xvii]

Suicidal Ideation

Compared to the general population, LGBTIQ+ people are more likely to have thoughts of suicide, specifically:

  • LGBTQA+ young people aged 16 to 17 were over five times more likely to have experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months
  • LGBTI people aged 18 and over were over eighteen times more likely to have considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months
  • Bisexual people aged 18 and over are nearly six times more likely
  • People with an intersex variation aged 16 and over are nearly five times more likely

 

Statistics for LGBTIQ+ Populations

  • 59.1% of LGBTQA+[10] young people aged 16 to 17 reported having experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[xviii]
  • 58.2% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 had seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months[xix]
  • 24.4% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 had made a suicide plan in the past 12 months[xx]
  • 15.15% of LGBTI[11] people aged 16 and over reported current thoughts of suicide in the past two weeks[xxi]
  • 41.9% of LGBTI people aged 18 and over[12] reported that they had considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months and 74.8% had considered attempting suicide at some point during their lives[xxii]
  • 77.6% of bisexual[13] people aged 18 and over reported having thoughts of suicide in their lifetime[xxiii]
  • 41% of transgender people and non-binary people aged 18 years and over reported thoughts of suicide or self-harm in the last two weeks[xxiv]
  • 60% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over reported they had thoughts about suicide based on issues related to having congenital sex variation[xxv]

Statistics for the General Population

  • 11.2% of people aged 16 to 17 reported having experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[xxvi]
  • 13.3% of the general population (15% females; 11.5% males) aged 16 and over in Australia reported having experienced suicidal ideation in their lifetime; 2.3% of general population (2.7% females; 1.8% males) in the past 12 months[xxvii]
  • 3.4% of the general population (1.7% of males and 5.1% of females) aged 16 to 24 in Australia reported having experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[xxviii]
  • 7.5% of people aged 12 to 17 reported that they had seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months[xxix]

Self-Harm[14]

Compared to the general population, LGBTIQ+ people are more likely to have engaged in self-harm in their lifetime, specifically:

  • LGBTQA+ young people are over four times as likely to engage in self-injury
  • Transgender people aged 18 and over are six and a half times more likely
  • People with an intersex variation aged 16 and over are over three times more likely
  • LGBTQA+ young people who experience abuse and harassment are even more likely to have self-harmed

Statistics for LGBTIQ+ Populations

  • 62.1% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 reported ever having self-harmed[xxx]
  • 40.1% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 reported having self-harmed in the past 12 months[xxxi]
  • 85.8% of trans men, 76.1% of non-binary people and 68% of trans women aged 14 to 21 reported ever having self-harmed[xxxii]
  • 55.5% of trans men, 53.9% of non-binary people and 48% of trans women aged 14 to 21 reported having self-harmed in the past 12 months[xxxiii]
  • 33% of LGBTI[15] young people aged 16 to 27 reported having self-harmed, 41% had thoughts of harming themselves[xxxiv]
  • 53% of transgender people aged 18 and over[16] reported having self-harmed in their lifetime, while 11% reported they were currently self-harming[xxxv]
  • 79.7% of transgender and gender diverse[17] people aged 14 to 25 reported having self-harmed in their lifetime[xxxvi]
  • 26% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over reported having self-harmed based on issues related to having a congenital sex variation, while 42% reported having thoughts about self-harm[xxxvii]
  • 22% of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people between 14 and 21 years reporting having experienced thoughts about self-harming, which increased to 40% for those who had experienced verbal abuse and to 62% who had experienced physical abuse[xxxviii]

Statistics for the General Population

  • 14.1% of people (16.6% females; 11.6% males) aged between 15 and 19, and 21.25% of people (24.4% females; 18.1% males) aged between 20 and 24, reported having engaged in self injury in their lifetime[xxxix]
  • 8.1% of people (8.7% females; 7.5% males) aged 16 and over reported having engaged in self-injury in their lifetime; and 1.1% of people (1.2% females; 1% males) in the past four weeks[xl]
  • 10.9% of people aged 12 to 17 reported having ever self-harmed[xli]

MENTAL HEALTH OUTCOMES

Mental Health Conditions[18]

Compared to the general population, LGBTIQ+ people are more likely to experience and be diagnosed with a mental health condition, specifically:

  • LGBTIQ people are two and a half times more likely to have been diagnosed or treated for a mental health condition in the past 12 months


Statistics for LGBTIQ+ Populations

  • 63.8% of LGBTQA+[19] young people aged 14 to 21 reported having ever been diagnosed with a mental health condition[xlii]
  • 44.5% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 reported receiving treatment or support for a mental health condition in the past 12 months[xliii]
  • 69.9% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 who reported being diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime had received professional treatment or support in the past 12 months[xliv]
  • 73.2% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over reported having ever been diagnosed with a mental health condition; 51.9% reported being diagnosed or treated for a mental health condition in the past 12 months[xlv]

 

Statistics for the General Population

  • 45.5% of people aged 16 and over reported having a mental disorder in their lifetime; 20% of people aged 16 and over (22.3% female; 17.6% male) reporting having met the criteria for a mental disorder and having symptoms in the past 12 months[xlvi]
  • 13.9% of young people aged 4-17 met the clinical criteria for one or more mental disorders in the past 12 months[xlvii]

Depression

Compared to the general population, LGBTIQ+ people are more likely to experience and be diagnosed with depression, specifically:

  • LGBTI people are nearly six times more likely
  • Transgender and gender diverse people aged 14 to 25 are over seven times more likely
  • Transgender and gender diverse people aged 18 and over are five and a half times more likely
  • People with an intersex variation are over twice as likely

Statistics for LGBTIQ+ Populations

  • 48.3% of LGBTQA+[20] young people aged 14 to 21 reported ever being diagnosed with depression[xlviii]
  • 60.5% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over reported having ever been diagnosed with depression[xlix]
  • 24.4% LGBTI people aged 16 and over[21] reported that they currently met the full criteria for a major depressive episode[l]
  • 30.5% of LGBT people aged 16 and over[22] reported having been diagnosed or treated for depression in the last three years[li]
  • 57.2% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 18 and over reported having been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime[lii]
  • 74% of transgender and gender diverse[23] people aged 14 to 25 reported having been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime[liii]
  • 21.3% of people with intersex variations aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed with depression[liv]

Statistics for the General Population

  • 10.4% of Australians (11.6% females; 9.1% males) reported having depression or feelings of depression at the time of taking the survey[lv]

 

Anxiety

Compared to the general population, LGBTIQ+ people are more likely to experience and be diagnosed with anxiety, specifically:

  • LGBTI people are over three times as likely to report having an anxiety-related condition
  • Transgender people aged 14 to 25 are five and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety in their lifetime

 

Statistics for LGBTIQ+ Populations

  • 49.5% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 reported ever being diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder[lvi]
  • 47.2% of LGBTI people aged 18 and over reported having ever been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder[lvii]
  • 31.5% of homosexual/bisexual people aged 16 and over in Australia reporting they had met the criteria for an anxiety disorder in the past 12 months[lviii]
  • 20.3% of LGBTI people aged 16 and over[24] reported that they had been diagnosed with anxiety in their lifetime[lix]
  • 39.9% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 18 and over reported they had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in their lifetime[lx]
  • 72.5% of transgender and gender diverse[25] people aged 14 to 25 reported they had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in their lifetime[lxi]
  • 12.9% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over reported they had been diagnosed with anxiety[lxii]

Statistics for the General Population

  • 13.1% of Australians (15.7% females, 10.6% males; 24.6% of females aged 15-24, 13.9% of males aged 15-24) reported having an anxiety-related condition at the time of taking the survey[lxiii]

Psychological Distress

Compared to the general population LGBTIQ+ people experience higher levels of psychological distress, specifically:

  • LGBTQA+[26] young people aged 16 to 17 were over three times more likely to report high or very high levels of psychological distress
  • LGBT people score higher on the Kessler Psychological Distress (K10) Scale
  • LGBT people who have experienced verbal abuse, physical abuse and harassment score higher on the K10 scale indicating high levels of psychological distress

Statistics for LGBTIQ+ Populations

  • 83.3% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 16 to 17 reported high or very high levels of psychological distress[lxiv]
  • LGBT people aged 16 and over[27] scored an average K10 score of 19.6, indicating moderate levels of psychological distress[lxv]
  • LGBT people aged 16 and over who reported having experienced one or more incidents of heterosexist harassment or abuse in the past 12 months reported higher mean K10 scores than those who reported no such incidents in the same period[lxvi]
  • 57.2% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over[28] reported high or very high levels of psychological distress. By gender: 75.8% of trans men, 65.6% of trans women, 74.9% of non-binary participants, 59.4% of cisgender women and 43.7% of cisgender men. By sexual orientation: 75.9% of pansexual participants, 66.7% of bisexual participants, 71.7% of asexual participants, 67.8% of queer participants, 50.6% of lesbian participants and 43.7% of gay participants.[lxvii]
  • Bisexual[29] people aged 18 and over scored an average K10 score of 24.34, indicating high levels of psychological distress[lxviii]

Statistics for the General Population

  • 27.3% of people aged 16 to 17 reported high or very high levels of psychological distress[lxix]
  • The average K10 score for the general population aged 16 and over in Australia is 14.5, indicating low levels of psychological distress[lxx]
  • 70% of the general population aged 16 and over in Australia has a K10 score in the low range, 20% in the moderate range, 7% in the high range and 3% in the very high range[lxxi]
  • 50.9% of the general population aged 11 and 17 in Australia has a K10 score in the low range, 29.1% in the moderate range, 13.3% in the high range and 6.6% in the very high range[lxxii]

USE OF CRISIS SUPPORT SERVICES

  • 38.1% of LGBTQA+[30] people aged 14 to 21 who had experienced any suicidal ideation, planning or attempts, or self-harm ideation or attempts in the past 12 months had accessed a professional service regarding suicide or self-harm in this time frame[lxxiii]
  • 59.3% of LGBTQA+ people aged 14 to 21 who had accessed any professional counselling or support service in regard to suicide or self-harm in the past 12 months reported that the support service resulted in their situation improving (reported as being better or much better) the last time they accessed it in the past 12 months[lxxiv]
  • 71% of LGBTI+ people[31] aged 16 to 27 indicated that they did not use a crisis support service during their most recent personal or mental health crisis[lxxv]
  • 32.6% of LGBTI+ people aged 16 to 27 who had not used a crisis support service during their most recent personal or mental health crisis indicated that their decision was due to anticipated discrimination[lxxvi]
  • 29% of LGBTI+ people aged 16 to 27 who had not used a crisis support service during their most recent personal or mental health crisis indicated that their decision was due to not thinking that their experience warranted crisis intervention[lxxvii]
  • 28.8% of LGBTI+ people aged 16 to 27 who had not used a crisis support service during their most recent personal or mental health crisis indicated that their decision was due to being unaware of crisis support services or unaware of LGBTI+ specialist services[lxxviii]

DISAGGREGATING LGBTIQ+

Lesbian and Gay People

The mental health and wellbeing of gay and lesbian people differs, specifically:

  • Lesbian people aged 14 to 21 reported higher levels of psychological distress than gay people
  • Lesbian people are more likely to be diagnosed and treated for mental disorder or anxiety, and are more likely to engage in self-harm and attempt suicide than gay people
  • Gay people are more likely to have thoughts about suicide, but lesbian people are almost more than twice as likely to attempt suicide
  • Gay and lesbian people aged 16 and over have a similar level of psychological distress

Population Statistics for Lesbian People

  • 83.3% of lesbian[32] people aged 14 to 21 reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress[lxxix]
  • 61.7% of lesbian people aged 14 to 21 reported having experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[lxxx]
  • 14.1% of lesbian people aged 14 to 21 reported having attempted suicide in the past 12 months[lxxxi]
  • 44% of lesbian people aged 16 to 27 reported thoughts about suicide, 20% had attempted suicide[lxxxii]
  • 46% of lesbian people aged 16 to 27 reported having self-harmed, 48% reported thoughts about harming themselves[lxxxiii]
  • 39.1% of lesbian people aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed or treated for any mental disorder in the past three years[lxxxiv]
  • 31% of lesbian people aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the last three years[lxxxv]
  • Lesbian people aged 16 and over averaged a K10 score of 19, indicating a moderate level of psychological distress [lxxxvi]


Population Statistics for Gay People

  • 67.3% of gay people aged 14 to 21 reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress[lxxxvii]
  • 43.3% of gay people aged 14 to 21 reported having experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[lxxxviii]
  • 7.8% of gay people aged 14 to 21 reported attempting suicide in the past 12 months[lxxxix]
  • 46% of gay people aged 16 to 27 reported thoughts about suicide, 14% had attempted suicide[xc]
  • 21% of gay people aged 16 to 27 reported having self-harmed, 40% had had thoughts about harming themselves[xci]
  • 29.8% of gay people aged 16 and over reported being diagnosed or treated for any mental disorder in the past three years[xcii]
  • 23.5% of gay people aged 16 and over reported being diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the last three years[xciii]
  • Gay people aged 16 and over average a K10 score of 18.8, indicating a moderate level of psychological distress[xciv]

Bisexual People

There are differences between the mental health and wellbeing of gay and lesbian people, and bisexual people, specifically:

  • Bisexual people are more likely to be diagnosed and treated for mental disorder or anxiety
  • Bisexual people have higher levels of psychological disress

There are also differences between the mental health and wellbeing of bisexual men and bisexual women, specifically:

  • Bisexual women are more likely to be diagnosed or treated for a mental disorder or anxiety, to have higer levels of psychologcal distress, and to self-harm
  • Bisexual men are more likely to think about suicide, but both bisexual women and bisexual men have similar rates of suicide attempts

Statistics for Bisexual People

  • 59.2% of bisexual[33] people aged 14 to 21 reported having experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[xcv]
  • 8.7% of bisexual people aged 14 to 21 reported attempting suicide in the past 12 months[xcvi]
  • 29% of bisexual women aged 16 to 27 reported thoughts about suicide, 10% had attempted suicide[xcvii]
  • 30% of bisexual women aged 16 to 27 reported having self-harmed, 31% reported thoughts of harming themselves[xcviii]
  • 50.6% of bisexual women aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed or treated for any mental disorder in the past three years[xcix]
  • 38.8% of bisexual women aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the last three years[c]
  • Bisexual women aged 16 and over averaged a K10 score of 21.8, indicating moderate levels of psychological distress [ci]
  • 32% of bisexual men aged 16 to 27 reported thoughts about suicide, 9% had attempted suicide[cii]
  • 17% of bisexual men aged 16 to 27 reported having self-harmed, 32% reported thoughts about harming themselves[ciii]
  • 34.1% of bisexual men aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed or treated for any mental disorder in the past three years[civ]
  • 20.9% of bisexual men aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the last three years[cv]
  • Bisexual men aged 16 and over averaged a K10 score of 20.5, indicating moderate levels of psychological distress [cvi]

Pansexual, Queer and Asexual People

Statistics for Pansexual People

  • 88.1% of pansexual people aged 14 to 21 reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress[cvii]
  • 67.4% of pansexual people aged 14 to 21 reported having experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[cviii]
  • 13.4% of pansexual people aged 14 to 21 reported attempting suicide in the past 12 months[cix]

 

Statistics for Queer People

  • 86.6% of queer people aged 14 to 21 reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress[cx]
  • 62.4% of queer people aged 14 to 21 reported having experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[cxi]
  • 11.6% of queer people aged 14 to 21 reported attempting suicide in the past 12 months[cxii]

 

Statistics for Asexual People

  • 83.4% of asexual people aged 14 to 21 reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress[cxiii]
  • 54.6% of asexual people aged 14 to 21 reported having experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[cxiv]
  • 6.6% of asexual people aged 14 to 21 reported attempting suicide in the past 12 months[cxv]

Transgender and Gender Diverse People

There are differences between the mental health and wellbeing of transgender and gender diverse people people, and cisgender people, specifically:

  • Transgender people experience a higher rate of suicide attempts than cisgender people. Transgender people aged 14-25 are fifteen times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population
  • Transgender and non-binary people experience high levels of psychological distress, compared to moderate levels experienced by cisgender people
  • Transgender and gender diverse people aged 16 and over are nearly four times more likely to have experienced sexual violence or coersion


Statistics for Transgender and Gender Diverse People

  • 90.2% of transgender and gender diverse[34] people aged 14 to 21 reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress[cxvi]
  • 56.2% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 14 to 21 reported experiencing verbal harassment based on their sexuality or gender identity in the past 12 months[cxvii]
  • 14% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 14 to 21 reported experiencing physical harassment or assault based on their sexuality or gender identity in the past 12 months[cxviii]
  • 27.4% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 14 to 21 reported experiencing sexual harassment or assault based on their sexuality or gender identity in the past 12 months[cxix]
  • 35% of transgender[35] people aged 18 and over reported having attempted suicide in their lifetime[cxx]
  • 41% of transgender people and non-binary people aged 18 years and over reported thoughts of suicide or self-harm in the last two weeks[cxxi]
  • 39.9% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 18 and over reported having been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, with 62.1% diagnosed in the past 12 months[cxxii]
  • 57.2% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 18 and over reported having been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime, with 54.2% diagnosed in the past 12 months[cxxiii]
  • 53.2% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 16 and over reported having experienced sexual violence or coercion, compared with 13.3% of the general population[cxxiv]

Statistics for Transgender Women

  • 20% of trans women aged 14 to 21 had attempted suicide in the past 12 months (compared with 9.1% of cisgender women and 6.7% of cisgender men)[cxxv]
  • 44.2% of transgender women aged 18 and over reported current thoughts about suicide or self-harm in the last two weeks[cxxvi]
  • 574% of transgender women aged 16 and over reported being diagnosed or treated with any mental disorder in the past three years[cxxvii]
  • 58.9% of transgender women aged 18 and over reported having been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime[cxxviii]
  • 34.4% of transgender women aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the last three years[cxxix]
  • Transgender women averaged a K10 score of 23.2, indicating high levels of psychological distress[cxxx]

Statistics for Transgender men

  • 16.7% of trans men aged 14 to 21 had attempted suicide in the past 12 months (compared with 9.1% of cisgender women and 6.7% of cisgender men)[cxxxi]
  • 40.5% of transgender men aged 18 and over and reported current thoughts about suicide or self-harm in the last two weeks[cxxxii]
  • 55.3% of transgender men aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed or treated with any mental disorder in the past three years[cxxxiii]
  • 62.1% of transgender men aged 18 and over reported having been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime [cxxxiv]
  • 42.6% of transgender men aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the last three years[cxxxv]
  • Transgender men averaged a K10 score of 23.22, indicating high levels of psychological distress [cxxxvi]

Statistics for Non-Binary people

  • 13.2% of non-binary[36] participants had attempted suicide in the past 12 months (compared with 9.1% of cisgender women and 6.7% of cisgender men)[cxxxvii]
  • 91.4% of non-binary people assigned female at birth (AFAB) aged 14 to 21 reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress[cxxxviii]
  • 84% of non-binary people assigned male at birth (AMAB) aged 14 to 21 reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress[cxxxix]
  • 37.5% of non-binary people assigned female at birth, and 30.2% of non-binary people assigned male at birth aged 18 years and over reported thoughts of suicide or self-harm in the last two weeks[cxl]
  • 54.4% of non-binary people assigned female at birth, and 40.6% of non-binary people assigned male at birth aged 18 and over reported having been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime[cxli]
  • 49.3% of non-binary people assigned female at birth and 30.2% of non-binary people assigned male at birth aged 18 and over reported having been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in their lifetime [cxlii]
  • 66.1% of non-binary people assigned female at birth and 44.5% of non-binary people assigned male at birth, aged 16 and over, reported having experienced sexual violence or coercion[cxliii]

Intersex people

There are significant differences between the mental health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and people with an intersex variation, with social and medical constructions playing an important role in how people feel about their own bodies and intersex variations. For many, wellbeing is impacted as a result of having undergone medical interventions, including unwanted surgery, beginning hormone therapies and feeling emotionally impacted or unlike themselves[cxliv].

 

Statistics for People with an Intersex Variation

  • 60% of people with an intersex variation reported that they had experienced a medical treatment intervention related to their intersex variation, with over half being before they were aged under 18 years[cxlv]
  • 19% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over reported having attempted suicide on the basis of issues related to having a congenital sex variation[cxlvi]
  • 60% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over reported having thought about suicide on the basis of issues related to having a congenital sex variation[cxlvii]
  • 42% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over reported having thought about self-harm, and 26% had engaged in self-harm on the basis of issues related to having a congenital sex variation[cxlviii]
  • 41% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over described their mental health as fair or poor[cxlix]
  • 21.3% of people with intersex variations aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed with depression[cl]
  • 12.9% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over reported having been diagnosed with anxiety[cli]
  • 7.7% of people with an intersex variation reported having been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder[clii]

ACROSS THE LIFE SPAN

There are differences between the mental health and wellbeing of younger LGBTIQ+ people and older LGBTIQ+ people, specifically:

  • LGBTQA+ young people were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide in the past 12 months than older LGBTQA+ people
  • LGBTQA+ young people aged 16 to 24 have a higher rate of being diagnosed with a mental disorder than older LGBTQA+ people

Statistics for LGBTI Younger People

  • 11% of LGBTQA+[37] young people aged 16 to 17 had attempted suicide in the past 12 months[cliii]
  • 25.6% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 16 to 17 had attempted suicide in their lifetime[cliv]
  • 59.1% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 16 to 17 reported having experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[clv]
  • 582% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 had seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months[clvi]
  • 24.4% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 had made a suicide plan in the past 12 months[clvii]
  • 62.1% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 reported ever having self-harmed[clviii]
  • 40.1% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 reported having self-harmed in the past 12 months[clix]
  • 63.8% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 reported having ever been diagnosed with a mental health condition[clx]
  • 48.3% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 reported ever being diagnosed with depression[clxi]
  • 49.5% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 14 to 21 reported ever being diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder[clxii]
  • 83.3% of LGBTQA+ young people aged 16 to 17 reported high or very high levels of psychological distress[clxiii]
  • 16% of LGBTI[38] young people aged 16 to 27 reported that they had attempted suicide[clxiv]
  • 42% of LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 reported having thoughts about suicide[clxv]
  • 33% of LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 reported having self-harmed, 41% reported thoughts of harming themselves[clxvi]
  • 47.7% of LGBT people (48.2% women; 29.3% men) aged 16 to 24 reported being diagnosed or treated for any mental disorder in the past three years[clxvii]
  • 71% of LGBTI+ people aged 16 to 27 indicated that they did not use a crisis support service (CSS) during their most recent personal or mental health crisis[clxviii]
  • 43.5% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 18 to 19 reported having a major depressive syndrome[clxix]
  • 72.5% of transgender and gender diverse[39] people aged 14 to 25 reported having been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in their lifetime[clxx]
  • LGBT young people aged 16 to 24 averaged a K10 score of 23.8, indicating high levels of psychological distress [clxxi]

Statistics for LGBTI Older People

  • 5.2% of LGBTIQ[40] people aged 18 and over reported having attempted suicide in the past 12 months[clxxii]
  • 30.3% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over reported having attempted suicide in their lifetime[clxxiii]
  • 60.5% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over reported having ever been diagnosed with depression[clxxiv]
  • 47.2% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over reported having ever been diagnosed with anxiety[clxxv]
  • 57.2% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over reported high or very high levels of psychological distress[clxxvi]
  • 32.5% of LGBT people aged 45 to 59 (28.7% men and 36.2% women) reported having been diagnosed or treated for any mental disorder in the past three years[clxxvii]
  • 19.2% of LGBT people aged 60 to 89 (21.6% men and 16.7% women) reported having been diagnosed or treated for any mental disorder in the past three years[clxxviii]
  • 19.4% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 50 and over reported having a major depressive syndrome[clxxix]
  • 10.2% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 50 and over reported having an anxiety syndrome
  • LGBT older people aged 49 to 59 averaged a K10 score of 19.11, indicating moderate levels of psychological distress [clxxx]
  • Gay and lesbian people and transgender women and aged 60 to 89 averaged a K10 score is 16, indicating moderate levels of psychological distress[clxxxi]

Statistics for the General Population aged 16 to 24

  • 1.1% of people (1.7% females; 0.5% males) aged 16 to 24 reported having attempted suicide in the past 12 months[clxxxii]
  • 3.4% of the general population (1.7% of males and 5.1% of females) aged 16 to 24 in Australia reported having suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[clxxxiii]
  • 14.1% of people (16.6% females; 11.6% males) aged between 15 and 19, and 21.25% of people (24.4% females; 18.1% males) aged between 20 and 24, reported having engaged in self injury in their lifetime[clxxxiv]
  • 26.4% of young people (30.1% females, 22.8% males) aged 16 to 24 reported having met the criterial for a diagnosis of a mental disorder in the past 12 months.[clxxxv]
  • 6.3% of young people (8.4% females, 4.3% males) in the general population aged 16 to 24 reported having met the criteria for an affective disorder, and 2.8% for a depressive episode in the past 12 months[clxxxvi]
  • 15.4% of young people (21.7% females, 9.3% males) aged 16 to 24 reported having met the criteria for an anxiety disorder, 1.3% for a Generalised Anxiety Disorder in the past 12 months[clxxxvii]

 

Statistics for the General Population aged 55 and over

  • 1.5% of people (1.7% males; 1.4% females) aged 55 to 64, 1.1% aged 65 to 77 and 0.8% aged 75 to 85 reported having experienced suicidal ideation in the past 12 months[clxxxviii]
  • 13.6% of the general population aged 55 to 64, 8.6% aged 65 to 74, and 5.9% aged 75 to 85 reported having been diagnosed with a mental disorder in the past 12 months
  • 11.3% of the general population aged 55 to 64, 6.3% aged 65 to 74, and 4% aged 75 to 85 reported having been diagnosed with a anxiety disorder in the past 12 months
  • 4.2% of the general population aged 55 to 64, 2.8% aged 65 to 74, and 1.8% aged 75 to 85 reported having been diagnosed with a affective disorder in the past 12 months

INTERSECTIONS

When considering mental health statics for LGBTIQ+ people, it is vital to consider how intersections with other identities and experiences may impact on an individual’s wellbeing; however, available research often has not provided a comprehensive analysis of data.

 

Population Group

What We Know

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

  • 4% of people with an intersex variation[clxxxix]
  • 1.5% of LGBTI people aged 16 to 27 [cxc]
  • 3% of LGBT people aged 14 to 21[cxci]
  • 2.3% LGBT people aged 16 and over[cxcii]
  • 2.7% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over[cxciii]
  • 2.3% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 18 and over[cxciv]
  • 3.7% of transgender and gender diverse[41] people aged 14 to 25[cxcv]

People with a Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

  • 28.6% of LGBTI people aged 16 to 27 report a racial or ethnic background other than Anglo-Celtic. 18% report having experienced a conflict between their cultural background and their sexuality or gender identity[cxcvi]
  • 18% of LGBT people aged 14 to 21 report being culturally and linguistically diverse[cxcvii] 
  • 16% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 14 to 25 were born overseas[cxcviii]
  • 16% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over were born overseas[cxcix]
  • 18.2% LGBT aged 16 and over were born overseas[cc]
  • 20.2% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 18 and over were born overseas, and 5.5% are from a non-English speaking background[cci]

People with Disabilities

  • 39% of LGBTQA+[42] people aged 14 to 21 identify as having a disability or long-term health condition[ccii]
  • 27% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over identify as having one or more disabilities[cciii] 
  • 36% of transgender people aged 18 and over[43] identify as having a mental health issue that they described as being a disability or chronic health condition[cciv]

People From Rural, Regional and Remote Areas

  • 24.9% of LGBTQA+[44] people aged 14 to 21 live in regional towns or cities and 10.5% live in rural or remote locations[ccv]
  • 5.9% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 18 and over (1.7% transgender men, 8.1% transgender women) live in regional or remote Australia[ccvi]
  • 18% of LGBT young people aged 14 to 21 live in rural areas, 2% in remote areas [ccvii] 
  • 20% of LGBT people aged 16 and over live in inner and outer regional areas, and 0.7% in rural and remote areas [ccviii]
  • 22.3% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over reported residing in regional cities or towns and 6.4% in rural and remote regions[ccix]

People Experiencing Homelessness

  • 23.6% of LGBTQA+ people aged 14 to 21 have experienced one or more forms of homelessness in their lifetime, and 11.5% had this experience in the past 12 months [ccx]
  • 6% of intersex people report they have precarious accommodation or homelessness, couch surfing or living on the street.[ccxi]
  • 22% of transgender and gender diverse[45] people aged 14 to 25 report experiencing accommodation issues and homelessness[ccxii]
  • 22% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over reported having ever experienced homelessness. Trans and gender diverse people reported higher rates of ever experiencing homelessness (34% of trans men, 33.8% of non-binary participants and 31.9% of trans women)[ccxiii]
  • 51% of LGB young people, and 71% of gender diverse young people aged 14 to 21 don’t live at home with family [ccxiv]

People Experiencing Intimate Partner and/or Family Violence

  • 41.7% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over reported having ever been in an intimate relationship where they felt they were abused in some way by their partner/s[ccxv]
  • 38.5% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over reported ever feeling abused by a family member[ccxvi]
  • 48.6% of LGBTIQ people aged 18 and over reported having ever been coerced or forced into sexual acts they did not want to engage in[ccxvii]

 

 

 

REFERENCE LIST

 

 

[1] Where possible, we have noted when this may have occurred, and these statistics should be used with caution when representing the experience of groups that are underrepresented (mainly transgender and intersex people). We have used various iterations of the acronym LGBTIQ+ depending on the populations surveyed and the terminology used in the studies referred to in this Snapshot.

[2] For an outline of the language LGBTIQA+ Health Australia utilises, please visit https://www.lgbtiqhealth.org.au/about

[3] Note: the majority of research targeting adult LGBTIQ+ populations in Australia has not included questions on whether participants have attempted suicide.

[4] Note: the researchers were not able to recruit a sufficient sample of young people with an intersex variation. Therefore, the survey was of LGBTQA+ young people only (n = 6,418).

[5] Note: of 1032 survey participants, only three young people identified as having an intersex variation.

[6] Note: of 2651 survey participants, 20.4% were male and 79.6% were female. Transgender and gender diverse people were not included in the analysis.

[7] Note: of 2328 survey participants, 34.3% were cisgender men, 43.5% cisgender women, 4.4% trans men, 4.2% trans women and 13.6% non-binary. There were 47 participants with an intersex variation/s.

[8] Note: of 859 survey participants, 74.4% were assigned female at birth, 25.6% were assigned male at birth, and 1.6% identified as intersex.

[9] Note: the study participants were based in the UK and Ireland.

[10] Note: the researchers were not able to recruit a sufficient sample of young people with an intersex variation. Therefore, the survey was of LGBTQA+ young people only (n = 6,418).

[11] Note: of 5467 survey participants, only 1.8% identified as transgender, and 0.3% identified as having an intersex variation.

[12] Note: of 2328 survey participants, 34.3% were cisgender men, 43.5% cisgender women, 4.4% trans men, 4.2% trans women and 13.6% non-binary. There were 47 participants with an intersex variation/s.

[13] Note: of 2651 survey participants, 20.4% were male and 79.6% were female. Transgender and gender diverse people were not included in the analysis.

[14] Note: the majority of research targeting adult LGBTIQ+ populations in Australia has not included questions on whether participants have engaged in self-harm.

[15] Note: of 1032 survey participants, only three young people identified as having an intersex variation.

[16] Note: the study participants were based in the UK and Ireland.

[17] Note: of 859 survey participants, 74.4% were assigned female at birth, 25.6% were assigned male at birth, and 1.6% identified as intersex.

[18] Includes depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

[19] Note: the researchers were not able to recruit a sufficient sample of young people with an intersex variation. Therefore, the survey was of LGBTQA+ young people only (n = 6,418).

[20] Note: the researchers were not able to recruit a sufficient sample of young people with an intersex variation. Therefore, the survey was of LGBTQA+ young people only (n = 6,418).

[21] Note: of 5467 survey participants, 1.8% identified as transgender, and 0.3% identified as having an intersex variation.

[22] Note: of 3835 survey participants, 7.41% identified as transgender, and people with an intersex variation were not included in data collection.

[23] Note: of 859 survey participants, 74.4% were assigned female at birth, 25.6% were assigned male at birth, and 1.6% identified as intersex.

[24] Note: of 5467 survey participants, only 1.8% identified as transgender, and 0.3% identified as having an intersex variation.

[25] Note: of 859 survey participants, 74.4% were assigned female at birth, 25.6% were assigned male at birth, and 1.6% identified as intersex.

[26] Note: the researchers were not able to recruit a sufficient sample of young people with an intersex variation. Therefore, the survey was of LGBTQA+ young people only (n = 6,418).

[27] Note: of 3835 survey participants, 7.41% identified as transgender, and people with an intersex variation were not included in data collection.

[28] Note: of 2328 survey participants, 34.3% were cisgender men, 43.5% cisgender women, 4.4% trans men, 4.2% trans women and 13.6% non-binary. There were 47 participants with an intersex variation/s.

[29] Note: of 2651 survey participants, 20.4% were male and 79.6% were female. Transgender and gender diverse people were not included in the analysis.

[30] Note: the researchers were not able to recruit a sufficient sample of young people with an intersex variation. Therefore, the survey was of LGBTQA+ young people only (n = 6,418).

[31] Note: of 472 participants, 3% identified as agender, 47% identified as female, 8% identified as genderqueer, 20% identified as male, 3% identified as trans-male, 9% identified as trans-female and 10% identified as other. Only one participant identified they were born with an intersex variation.

[32] Note: the researchers were not able to recruit a sufficient sample of young people with an intersex variation. Therefore, the survey was of LGBTQA+ young people only (n = 6,418).

[33] Note: the researchers were not able to recruit a sufficient sample of young people with an intersex variation. Therefore, the survey was of LGBTQA+ young people only (n = 6,418).

[34] Note: the researchers were not able to recruit a sufficient sample of young people with an intersex variation. Therefore, the survey was of LGBTQA+ young people only (n = 6,418).

[35] Note: the study participants were based in the UK and Ireland.

[36] Note: the researchers were not able to recruit a sufficient sample of young people with an intersex variation. Therefore, the survey was of LGBTQA+ young people only (n = 6,418).

[37] Note: the researchers were not able to recruit a sufficient sample of young people with an intersex variation. Therefore, the survey was of LGBTQA+ young people only (n = 6,418).

[38] Note: of 1032 survey participants, only 3 young people identified as having an intersex variation.

[39] Note: of 859 survey participants, 74.4% were assigned female at birth, 25.6% were assigned male at birth, and 1.6% identified as intersex.

[40] Note: of 2328 survey participants, 34.3% were cisgender men, 43.5% cisgender women, 4.4% trans men, 4.2% trans women and 13.6% non-binary. There were 47 participants with an intersex variation/s.

[41] Note: of 859 survey participants, 74.4% were assigned female at birth, 25.6% were assigned male at birth, and 1.6% identified as intersex.

[42] Note: of 2328 survey participants, 34.3% were cisgender men, 43.5% cisgender women, 4.4% trans men, 4.2% trans women and 13.6% non-binary. There were 47 participants with an intersex variation/s.

[43] Note: the study participants were based in the UK and Ireland.

[44] Note: of 2328 survey participants, 34.3% were cisgender men, 43.5% cisgender women, 4.4% trans men, 4.2% trans women and 13.6% non-binary. There were 47 participants with an intersex variation/s.

[45] Note: of 859 survey participants, 74.4% were assigned female at birth, 25.6% were assigned male at birth, and 1.6% identified as intersex.

 

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[iii] LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, 2013.

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[clxxxvi] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2007B.

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LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, (formerly the National LGBTI Health Alliance), is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people and other sexuality, gender and bodily diverse (LGBTIQ+) people and communities. Dropping the “+” from our name only occurs within digital formats that do not allow mathematical symbols, such as within our domain name, handles and hashtags.
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