The Link Between Mental Health and Racism
by valerieraiche on October 14, 2015 - 6:39pm
“Racism linked to depression and anxiety in youth”, an article published by the University of Melbourne that was released on September 17th 2013, discusses the link between the development of depression and anxiety in young people having been victims of racism. The main researcher of the study, Dr. Naomi Priest, states that the university’s review showed 461 cases of links between racism and youth health outcomes. According to the researcher, racism is an important factor influencing the wellbeing and mental health of children. The study showed that there was a strong relationship between negative racial comments and harmful health outcomes like low self-esteem and behaviour problems in young people. The study found that the most common types of racism occur in an interpersonal setting, rather than an institutional one. Dr. Priest goes on to explain that racism is an extremely important issue that should be addressed directly in society, schools and communities in order to improve child health. According to the researcher, it is crucial to address racism at a young age, since children with poor health and wellbeing are more likely to be subject to unemployment in the future due to their disengagement in school.
As a professional figure skating coach that has taught children ranging from three years old to sixteen years old, I have encountered youth of many different “races”. I am privileged enough to work in a multi-cultural environment and have been able to observe children of different skin colours interacting with each other. I have seen very few cases of racism on the ice, if any. I believe that the children in my city are lucky enough to have learned the basics of skin colour at a young age. According to “Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race”, children recognize race at a very young age and that it is important for caregivers of young children to not shut down race-related conversations. I agree with the advice that this article provides including avoiding the use of vague scolding and discussing the specifics of the issue in a specific way. In response to my chosen article by the University of Melbourne, I believe that the tips given by the reading in class can be applied to suggestions of Dr. Priest as stated previously.
University of Melbourne. Racism linked to depression and anxiety in youth. Melbourne: University of Melbourne, 2013.