Trans People’s Mental Health

It is now widely accepted that being transgender is not a mental illness and that there is a biological underpinning to being trans. However, trans people are disproportionately affected by mental health difficulties. It is important to recognise that non-binary people face specific barriers that other trans people do not face. Whilst any trans person might experience misgendering or having their identity questioned, the lack of legal recognition for non-binary people can exacerbate this. Non-binary people often find that they have to misgender themselves on forms and when using facilities such as toilets and changing rooms. In addition to this, non-binary people are less represented in wider society. The Scottish Trans Alliance’s Non-binary Report (2015) found that 65% of non-binary people felt they had poorer mental health due to the lack of representation of people like them within services.

Stonewall’s LGBT in Britain: Health Report (2018) found that within the past year:

  • 70% of non-binary people had experienced depression
  • 71% of trans people (including 79% of non-binary people) had experienced anxiety
  • 19% of trans people (including 24% of non-binary people) had experienced an eating disorder
  • 46% of trans people (including 50% of non-binary people) have considered taking their own life
  • 35% of trans people (including 41% of non-binary people) have self-harmed

The study also found that rates of mental ill health are higher LGBT people of colour, disabled LGBT people and for LGBT people who have experienced a hate crime.

Within mental health services, 29% of the respondents to the Trans Mental Health Study (2012) felt that their gender identity was not seen as genuine and was seen as an aspect of their mental ill health, 26% felt uncomfortable being asked about their sexual behaviours and 17% were told that their mental health issues were because they were trans.

The Trans Mental Health Study found that transition was associated with reduced rates of depression and self-harm. However, following transition factors relating to discrimination, familial rejection, societal inequality and ongoing dysphoria can continue to affect trans people’s mental health. For disabled trans people and trans people of colour, these issues can be further exacerbated by other aspects of minority stress.

Self-care is anything that you do to look after yourself and your mental health. It can include doing things to meet your basic needs, like eating a meal or having a shower, but also includes doing things that make you feel relaxed and happy.

Visit our Mental health and wellbeing resources page for links to resources that you might find useful.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, please reach out for support. The following organisations offer trans inclusive mental health support:

Birmingham LGBT: 0121 643 0821

CliniQ: 07545 143797 

LGBT Foundation: 0345 330 3030

LGBT Health and Wellbeing (Scotland): 0800 464 7000

Mindline Trans+: 0300 330 5468

MindOut: 01273 234 839

Spectra: 0800 587 8302

Switchboard: 0300 330 0630

The Rainbow Project (Northern Ireland): 0289 031 9030

Umbrella Cymru: 0300 302 3670