Study Says Discrimination Increases Risk Of Mental Issues In Young People

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A new study reveals that young people experiencing that any kind of discrimination, including racial prejudice, are more likely to deal with mental health problems compared to those who don't, according to the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).

The university announced the study's findings Sunday (November 7), which was published in the medical journal Pediatrics. Researchers say discrimination increases a young person's risk "for both short- and long-term behavioral and mental health problems." The risk increases the more these individuals suffer incidents of discrimination, they added.

"Researchers examined a decade’s worth of health data on 1,834 Americans who were between 18 and 28 years old when the study began," according to UCLA. The study examined various kinds of discrimination besides race, including age, sex, gender, height, weight, ancestry, national origin, and more.

Participants answered questions about how often they were perceived negatively or faced circumstances where they were treated with "less courtesy" or "given poorer service." Researchers found that participants who faced discrimination a few times a month or more were "roughly 25% more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness" compared to those who experienced less or none at all.

This study was more focused on one's transition into adulthood since previous and similar studies have focused on childhood or later adulthood.

“With 75% of all lifetime mental health disorders presenting by age 24, the transition to adulthood is a crucial time to prevent mental and behavioral health problems,” Yvonne Lei says, a medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s corresponding author.

Acknowledging the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lei added that, "We have the opportunity to rethink and improve mental health services to acknowledge the impact of discrimination, so we can better address it to provide more equitable care delivery.

Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available: 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264

The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001

For more mental health resources, click HERE

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