Young LGB adults were at greatest risk of mental ill health during pandemic

People of your generation who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) were at the greatest risk of experiencing depression, anxiety, loneliness and lower life satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What we asked you

During the first year of the pandemic, we asked you to complete three online surveys to ask how you were faring under the COVID-19 restrictions.

At each of those surveys, we asked you a series of questions about your recent mental health and wellbeing, including whether you felt depressed or anxious, if you felt lonely and whether you were feeling satisfied with life.

Over time, we have also collected important information about who you are, your family background, home life, financial circumstances, and where you live. We’ve also collected information about different aspects of your identity, such as your ethnicity and sexual orientation.

What we found

Researchers from University College London and King’s College London discovered that LGB people, women, and those living in disadvantaged areas, were more likely than their counterparts to report symptoms of anxiety and depression, loneliness and lower life satisfaction a year into the pandemic.

The researchers were also able to look at how people with multiple, intersecting social identities fared. Across all combinations of identities and circumstances, those who identified as LGB were at the greatest risk of experiencing mental ill health, across gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic groups.

Why this research matters

The study’s authors explained that LGB people were already experiencing stigma and discrimination, and poorer health and mental health prior to the coronavirus outbreak. These inequalities are most likely to have widened during the pandemic, perhaps due to not being able to access the same support from friends, and for some, more fraught relationships with family at home.

Read the full research report

A quantitative approach to the intersectional study of mental health inequalities during the COVID-19 pandemic in UK young adults by Darío Moreno-Agostino, Charlotte Woodhead, George B. Ploubidis & Jayati Das-Munshi.