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Racism And Discrimination - The Connection To Mental Illness


<p>Everyone is familiar with racism on one level or another.&nbsp; With more and more calls for change with minority communities, there are many who are looking to understand racism from a place of compassion and general interest in changing how things work.&nbsp; Worldwide, there is a strong link between racism and mental illness.&nbsp; Addressing it, and changing how things work, is a starting point to getting to the point where there is, ideally, zero discrimination.</p> <p>What does the connection between racism and mental health look like?</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; According to the studies done specifically with a focus on discrimination and mental illness, the connection between the two has a few forms it can take.&nbsp; Including:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Racism and discrimination can cause PTSD:</strong> Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, often thought to be connected to military and veteran life, can also be applied to minority groups and people who experience racist attacks.&nbsp; Whether it involves overt attacks or &ldquo;acts of omission&rdquo;, still counting as discrimination, this finding still stands.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>There are physiological symptoms of discrimination:</strong> Discrimination and racism also physiological impacts in combination with mental ones.&nbsp; For example, those who are victims of discrimination can experience increased hypertension and health issues such as illnesses and even susceptibility to cancer.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Statistics show the connection between racism/discrimination and mental illness:&nbsp; </strong>A statistically significant connection is also matched with frequent diagnoses of depression and chronic anxiety in those who were victims of racism or discrimination, both overtly or in omission.&nbsp; In workplaces where they were discriminated against, psychosis was also a common aftereffect.</li> </ul> <p>Society&rsquo;s interpretation of racism also factors in</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Aside from the actual connection with statistics and facts, there is also the fact that psychiatry and psychology often have a bias as well.&nbsp; Even with the best intentions, there are many who discriminate against those of minority communities automatically.&nbsp;</p> <p>Since psychology and its medicine was developed from the so-called &ldquo;white&rdquo; point of view, a lot of minority issues are not programmed into it.&nbsp; A lot of standard programs are considered racist because they do not factor in issues such as racial disrimination and culture and society as factors impacting mental health.&nbsp; They focus on the &ldquo;tried and true&rdquo; textbook readings that, at the time of their development, focused only on &ldquo;white thinking&rdquo; and their problems -- race and discrimination were not included since they were not issues found in historical societies.</p> <p>Not only does this psychological and psychiatric ignorance further victimize those suffering from mental illnesses short-term and long-term, but it also can create a further divide, as the system makes this institutional racism &ldquo;your problem&rdquo; (ie: the patient, rather than the institution).&nbsp; Many minority group victims who seek help professionally often do not find it helpful, or it actually weakens their mental health instead, as it is not encompassing all of their needs.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Studies show that, within the building blocks of psychiatry and even understanding what causes and irritates mental illnesses, there is a bias toward &ldquo;white&rdquo; thinking, with no built-in angle for those in minority groups.&nbsp; As this information comes more to light, there is hope that it may spark a deep-seated change leading to zero discrimination in society, including that surrounding mental health.</p>