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Discrimination and Depression

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 18 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Racism Depression Children Minority

Discrimination comes in many forms but it’s thought that where minority children are faced with racism, they are more likely to experience the symptoms of depression. This is the result of the perception of discrimination in their daily lives.

Increased Stress and Anxiety

It is not clear yet exactly how racism is linked to depression. Researchers think that the prevalence of racism means that children experience rejection and stress. Over time, this effect gains momentum, putting children at a higher risk of depression. Where the racism continues to adult years in particular, depressed minority children can become depressed adults.

Effects of Racism

Despite advances in awareness around racism and its effects, it still remains an enormous problem. For some minority children, racism is common. A new study set out to learn more about how children perceive racism, and also how that racism influences depression and self-esteem.

Surveying Minority Children

The study surveyed nearly three hundred minority children from the ages of nine to eighteen. The survey was performed in the United States and included multiracial children as well as Latino and African American children. Children in the study ranged in age from nine to eighteen-years old.

Perception of Racism

In the questionnaire, there were numerous scenarios that could be perceived as discriminatory. For instance, being followed by a security guard at a store was one. Another was the scenario of being accused of wrongdoing at school.

Significant Experiences With Racism

The results of the questionnaire showed that eighty-eight percent had one or more experiences with racism. Almost twelve percent of the children had been subject to racial discrimination in half or more of the scenarios described in the survey.

Typical instances of racism were verbal remarks that were perceived as racist or being called an offensive name. Researchers concluded that minority children as a whole are likely to experience discrimination. This was true across all minority races and all ages as well.

Racism Throughout the Broad Community

Worse still is that this racism occurs in a range of situations, from school to the rest of the community. Racism also occurs with both the peers of children and with adults. This suggests a broader community approach is required to reduce racism, particularly as it goes beyond the school and peer group of the minority children.

The key fear in this study is that racism could have significant effects on the self-esteem and mental health of minority children. Unfortunately, this seemed to be true given the remainder of the questionnaire results. It was found that there was a strong link between racism and depression as well as a strong link between self-esteem and depression. Researchers now want to investigate in detail the link between depression and racism. They want to find out if discrimination is responsible for stress, which could then lead to issues with mental health.

Helping Children Handle Racism

The challenge with these study results is that removing the associated racism is a community-wide effort. The most immediate approach is to develop tools to help parents talk to their children about racism, foster self-esteem in children and also learn how to identify the signs and symptoms of depression. The hope is that we can better prevent and treat depression in minority children who experience racism.

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I been saying this for the last year and a half to my son's school but do they listen?? No instead they and the local authority put my son in a behavior school and completely ignore anything i said about the above things. In my opinion its the teachers refusal to do anything about racism in schools the fact they cover it up. And the fact that they simultaneously let the ethnic minority children see the white peers constantly get away with there behavior, while severely punishing the ethnic minority child. Teachers also use there power and teaching position to manipulate situations when they have been caught out treating your child different. The worst thing is if as a parent you confront them your not only up against the school but the local authority who would prefer to sweep it under the carpet and back the schools even when blatant discrimination like keeping the equalities policy from a black person requesting it. Racist people especially those in high positions get the backing of the institute unless they literally attack your child physically. My son lacked self esteem the 1st few years of segregation by no one wanting to play with him, to pulling out his hair and name calling him. But then it turns into anger and frustration, and refusal to except any less treatment than he thinks his white peers are getting. This is seen by the white teachers who refuse to except what i am saying as my son just being defiant. My son is stressed by the new racism he has has to get used to and worst still realise some adults will emotionally abuse you because of it also. I have caught my sons teacher telling lies and deflecting issues all in the name of go against the biracial boy who dared suggest equality and to be heard. Its not just depressing for kids it depressing for parents to and affects family life. I worry about my childrens well being and mental growth because of the damage racism does to the child self esteem. I remember when they pulled out the old slave books telling all the children in class i was a slave at one point and they were the masters. I remember the giggles and laughs and i remember the teacher looking away from me when i looked at them for some support. That is torture to do that to a child who is under 11 years old in a class where often they are the only black face.
jojo - 18-Sep-12 @ 9:49 PM
I been saying this for the last year and a half to my son's school but do they listen?? No instead they and the local authority put my son in a behavior school and completely ignore anything i said about the above things. In my opinion its the teachers refusal to do anything about racism in schools the fact they cover it up. And the fact that they simultaneously let the ethnic minority children see the white peers constantly get away with there behavior, while severely punishing the ethnic minority child. Teachers also use there power and teaching position to manipulate situations when they have been caught out treating your child different. The worst thing is if as a parent you confront them your not only up against the school but the local authority who would prefer to sweep it under the carpet and back the schools even when blatant discrimination like keeping the equalities policy from a black person requesting it. Racist people especially those in high positions get the backing of the institute unless they literally attack your child physically. My son lacked self esteem the 1st few years of segregation by no one wanting to play with him, to pulling out his hair and name calling him. But then it turns into anger and frustration, and refusal to except any less treatment than he thinks his white peers are getting. This is seen by the white teachers who refuse to except what i am saying as my son just being defiant. My son is stressed by the new racism he has has to get used to and worst still realise some adults will emotionally abuse you because of it also. I have caught my sons teacher telling lies and deflecting issues all in the name of go against the biracial boy who dared suggest equality and to be heard. Its not just depressing for kids it depressing for parents to and affects family life. I worry about my childrens well being and mental growth because of the damage racism does to the child self esteem. I remember when they pulled out the old slave books telling all the children in class i was a slave at one point and they were the masters. I remember the giggles and laughs and i remember the teacher looking away from me when i looked at them for some support. That is torture to do that to a child who is under 11 years old in a class where often they are the only black face.
jojo - 18-Sep-12 @ 9:46 PM
Discrimination is not only affected by race, it is also ignorant employers, who have nothing better to do, than pick on someone who is suffering depression and feeling vulnerable.
whichypoo - 1-Nov-11 @ 8:40 AM
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