In a piece on the Independent‘s website prefacing the launch of the official report of findings by Youth Chances, schools are called on to do more to help LGBT* young people; statistics have found that almost half have had mental health issues.

The Youth Chances project is a social research project into LGBT* 16-25 year olds in the UK led by charity Metro, and involved interviews with over 7,000 people about experiences of education, employment and health services, as well as relationships and sexuality.

Youth Chances launch a report tomorrow (Monday), which includes statistics like reports of 50% of surveyed people self-harming, and 42% seeking medical help for anxiety or depression. According to the reports, one in five were victims of physical attack, but the majority were unreported, and a small amount thought their concerns were being addressed. In addition, a quarter felt they had learnt anything about safe sex with a same-sex partner.

Dr Greg Ussher, Metro’s acting chief executive, said to the Independent, ‘We are failing LGBTQ young people. The clear message is that they are badly served. What they want most is emotional support and they are not getting it.

‘By the age of 13 most are already sure or are questioning their sexuality or gender identity, so we need to ensure all families and schools are equipped to give that support.’

In the piece he warned that schools need to act now and that a failure to do so would lead to a ‘hugely increased risk of bullying and abuse; isolation and rejection – all leading to significantly increased levels of depression, self-harm and suicide.’

He added, ‘We must acknowledge we are facing a crisis. Schools have a key role to play in providing inclusive environments for all young people with zero tolerance of bullying and discrimination and by eliminating the fear of it through education and support.’

One of the Youth Chances ‘Superstars’, Jake Basford, told So So Gay, ‘It is well-known that LGBT* people are more likely to suffer from things like substance abuse, depression and other mental health issues, leading to addiction and suicide; we already have statistical evidence of that from organisations like Stonewall, LGF and THT. What we don’t know is why this is occurring and what we can do to stop it – this is where research like the Youth Chances survey comes in.

‘If it turns out that preventative action in schools can reduce the current levels of mental health issues in young people, LGBT* or otherwise, then it should be implemented immediately.’

15,000 young adults are to be surveyed by 2015, according to the article.