Pandemic Impact on our LGBTQ+ Youth
In 2018 whilst discussing ‘Rainbow Colours At Ards Town Hall’ reference was made to a report on suicide prevention from the World Health Organisation, and the methods of measuring suicide attempts. Reference was also made to the Rainbow Project report ‘Through Our Minds’ which indicated that 25.7% of those who responded, ‘had at least one attempt at suicide.’
But this is not the whole story, the following table gives a more concrete overview of the facts and figures:
|General population (suicide attempt ever)
|LGBT population (suicide attempt ever)
|General population (suicide attempt past year)
|LGBT (suicide attempt past year)
LGBT Ireland’s Annual Report
LGBT Ireland’s Annual Report for 2020 published yesterday (May 10) highlighted how the LGBTQ+ community was affected by the COVID pandemic with a higher number than ever of younger people calling the LGBT Ireland helpline with a correlating uptake in online peer support groups….[FactcheckNI(https://factcheckni.org/articles/have-1-in-4-lgbt-persons-attempted-suicide/)]
So why am I raising this again? We are all still living and working within the pandemic and its impact on all of the community within the United Kingdom. However, the LGBT Ireland’s Annual Report covering the year 2020, has highlighted the LGBTQ+ community was affected by the COVID pandemic with a higher number that ever of young people calling the LGBT Helpline.
But in Northern Ireland, I would also suggest that the number of calls for support whether by phone, text or online will have gone up. Our youth have also suffered from the impact of the pandemic, and so many reports, studies and articles over the period have indicated that for so many that had to return home from university halls, or from rented accommodation which they could no longer afford had the ‘return to the closet’ syndrome as they either were not out to their families, or their families preferred that they kept a low profile.
The cancelling of so many venues and the limitation of support groups has also brought further psychological pressure on our LGBTQ+ youth.
Today we heard that we are moving forward towards new normality, however almost immediately we are being told about the ‘Indian’ variant and that if the numbers continue to increase from this it may lead to local or limited lockdowns.
None of us knows the future, and indeed the one thing that is guaranteed apart from birth, death and taxes (which are bound to go up due to Brexit fallout and the pandemic costs) is that the pandemic is here forever, and that it is down to us all to be sensible and use the skills we have developed over the last 15+ months, but also that we need to think carefully on how we can support and care for our youth ( and indeed everyone).