Racism, mental health and depression

Children and young people who experience racism may endure poor mental health, depression and anxiety as a consequence, new research has indicated. To be published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, the study discovered 461 cases in which links between racism and child and youth health outcomes were apparent.

Led by Dr Naomi Priest at the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne and conducted in collaboration with Deakin University and University College London, the investigation reviewed numerous studies - most of which were carried out in the US with young people aged 12 to 18.

The findings showed strong relationships between racial discrimination and detrimental health outcomes such as increased behaviour problems, low self-esteem and reduced resilience.

Dr Priest commented: "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."

A recent US study led by Jonathan Cook revealed that while some of the anxieties associated with speaking to someone of a different ethnicity can be removed by friendship, those linked to interacting with a person with a different sexual orientation cannot be.