A new study has found a disturbing correlation between poor mental health in youth and experiences of racism. The study, undertaken by the University of Melbourne was conducted with 12-18 year olds, and showed there are “strong and consistent relationships between racial discrimination and a range of detrimental health outcomes such as low self-esteem, reduced resilience, increased behaviour problems and lower levels of well-being,” said lead researcher Naomi Priest, of the University of Melbourne in Australia.
The three most common ethnic/racial groups represented in the studies were African American, Latino/a and Asian, including East Asian, South Asian and other Asian.
The study found that in most cases, the most common types of racism were interpersonal experiences of racism, rather than institutional or systemic racism. Although the fact that there is less institutional racism is a step forward, there is still racism within our community. This needs to be addressed by individuals, as there can be detrimental outcomes on the victims. These outcomes such as low self-esteem, reduced resilience, increased behaviour problems and lower levels of wellbeing, can impact our society in terms of violence and crimes.
Similarly, as suggested by Ms. Priest, “We know that children who experience poor health and wellbeing are less likely to engage in education, employment and other activities that support them to lead healthy and productive lives and to participate meaningfully in the community.”
There must be an active movement to cross out all instances of racism within our Australian community. To contribute to this cause you can join the ‘It stops with me’ campaign held by the Australian Humans Right Commission.