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Prince William Comes Out in Support of the LGBT Community

15/06/2016 12:43 | Updated 15 June 2016

As a community we have higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance use disorders and suicidal behaviour than heterosexuals. For example, evidence indicates that gay men are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual men.

Mental health problems experienced by LGBT people have been linked to experiences of discrimination, homophobia and bullying. This bullying and homophobia is often internalised, which could help us to understand why we have a higher propensity towards self-destructive behaviours and substance use problems.

Prince William recently met members of the LGBT+ community after inviting them to Kensington Palace to listen to their experience of bullying and the mental health impacts it can have. Today it was announced that the Duke will make a historic appearance on the cover of Attitude Magazine, the UK's most popular gay magazine.

Speaking to Attitude, The Duke commented: "No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason and no one should have to put up with the kind of hate that these young people have endured in their lives. The young gay, lesbian and transgender individuals I met through Attitude are truly brave to speak out and to give hope to people who are going through terrible bullying right now. Their sense of strength and optimism should give us all encouragement to stand up to bullying wherever we see it. What I would say to any young person reading this who's being bullied for their sexuality: don't put up with it - speak to a trusted adult, a friend, a teacher, Childline, Diana Award or some other service and get the help you need. You should be proud of the person you are and you have nothing to be ashamed of."

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: "The Duke of Cambridge is working hard to support the fight against bullying and to help break the stigma around mental health. He has established a taskforce on the prevention of cyberbullying and along with The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry is leading the Heads Together campaign on mental health and well-being.

"He knows that LGBT young people suffer unacceptably high rates of bullying and he was grateful to Attitude for facilitating such a serious conversation on this topic. He was moved by the stories he heard and impressed by the positivity and courage of the people he met."

The contribution of influential allies to raising the profile of LGBT issues cannot be underestimated. Princess Diana for example, served as patron for the National AIDS Trust and made huge contributions to combatting the stigma of HIV, another health inequality which disproportionately impacts the LGBT community.

As highlighted by the National AIDS Trust's #WeExist campaign, one of the steps the Government can take to support and sustain the sexual and mental health of young LGBT people is introducing compulsory, inclusive sex and relationships education for all young people. You can find out more about the National AIDS Trust's campaign here.

For more information on steps we can all take to support good mental health visit the Mental Health Foundation.

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