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How Does Culture Affect Mental Health

5 min read

How Does Culture Affect Mental Health – Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) feel the insecurity of their family, hopelessness, helplessness and emotional distress over something completely out of their control: their race. Racism has a negative and critical impact on the mental health of BIPOC and is associated with increased symptoms of depression, high stress levels, low self-esteem, anxiety and trauma.

Racism is a complex, pervasive and pernicious system with individual, internal, institutional and structural elements. These factors maintain inequality, inequity, oppression and discrimination against people belonging to a particular race or ethnicity.

How Does Culture Affect Mental Health

Racism can be experienced as overt and overt acts, as well as more subtle and covert interactions. All levels of racism coexist and cause significant negative mental health outcomes for those on the receiving end.

Cultural Identity & Mental Health

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A recent study found that a majority of BIPOC say that American society is racist and that they have experienced discrimination, confirming the idea that racism is embedded in the lived experiences of BIPOC in this country.

According to Mental Health America Screenings, the effects of racism and discrimination have a profound effect on the mental health of BIPOC people.

As of January 2020, the largest increase in anxiety and depressive symptoms was reported by black or African American screeners, and the largest increase in self-harm or suicidal thoughts was experienced by Native American screeners or American Indians.

The Culture Is Prevention Project: Measuring Culture As A Social Determinant Of Mental Health For Native/indigenous Peoples

Mental Health America found that black or African-American participants who tested positive or moderate to severe for mental health status reported racism as one of their top three problems.

Racism can take many forms, including overt acts such as violence or insults, covert repetitions such as microaggressions, and systemic issues. Ignoring how race and racism affect one’s daily existence, someone can still be racist with phrases like “I don’t see color.”

Overt racism is blatantly oppressive opinions, statements, policies, laws, unfair treatment, and intentional harm to BIPOC people; This includes insults and racial slurs, bigotry, violent attacks and any other discriminatory practices designed to perpetuate the oppression of a minority person or group.

Covert racism includes more subtle acts that can be described as racial microaggressions. Microaggressions are comments, actions, or exchanges that are automatic and invisible expressions of racism that send insulting messages to people of a particular race or ethnicity. Microaggressions can occur in three categories: microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations.

Asian American / Pacific Islander Communities And Mental Health

Because covert racism and microaggressions are often subtle, they exacerbate everyday stressors that contribute to negative mental health functioning. One study found that 96% of black women experience microaggressions at least a few times a year, which significantly predicted depressive symptoms among participants.

Systemic or structural racism refers to pervasive, unfair and discriminatory treatment. For example, residential segregation or the discriminatory imprisonment of men and boys of color are strong examples of this type of racism. Such racism bleeds into all sectors of society and perpetuates ongoing oppression.

Institutional racism refers to overt racial bias toward POC. This form of racism exists in education systems (as children attending schools from disadvantaged neighborhoods have less access to resources), health settings (ie discrimination against people in community BIPOC), and the workforce.

Internalized racism is a form of internalized self-oppression. It manifests itself in many ways, including isolation or withdrawal from one’s family, excessive suspicion or self-loathing, ethnocentrism, and generally anger toward one’s race.

Black History Month And World Mental Health Day

Racial trauma refers to the combined impact of racism on one’s physical and emotional well-being. This particular type of trauma affects people from all BIPOC communities and affects both children and adults. Effects include low self-esteem, anger, relationship problems, substance use, hypervigilance and depression.

Racial gaslighting occurs when people deny or minimize the impact of racism. For example, the slogan “All Lives Matter” is a form of gaslighting that denigrates the racism experienced by blacks. Gaslighting “I don’t see color,” “Nobody’s racist anymore,” or “Not everything has to be about race.”

Navigating a world where your ethnic group is systematically and perpetually treated unfairly, threatened, harassed, and ostracized can be exhausting. BIPOC individuals need to be acutely aware that the perceptions, prejudices, and beliefs of others can lead to assumptions of inferiority, guilt, ignorance, or inadequacy, and can lead to a number of negative effects, including fatal interactions.

All of this affects how you see yourself, how you see others, and how you navigate the world. But the effects of racism are overlooked because they are disguised as common manifestations of mental health disorders such as anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Conversation On Mental Health With Poppy Jaman

Often, these symptoms are not immediately recognized as a result of chronic exposure to racism and retraumatization. Finding a therapist who can explore the impact of racism on your mental health is key to getting the help you need.

“BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that quickly connects you with a licensed counselor or therapist and has earned 4 out of 5 stars.” Visit BetterHelp

Racial anxiety cannot be dismissed or minimized because this country has an undeniable history of racism and bigotry, resulting in harassment, assault and threats of danger and death. It is hard not to be concerned when you see the many threats to the life and safety of clean black men, women and children engaged in daily behavior.

Zealous anti-immigration policies after 2016 have caused rumination, social isolation, fear of family deportation, and separation anxieties among Latino teens born in the United States and Mexican American individuals.

Pdf) Mental Health, Religion And Culture

Madeleine Maldonado, LCSW explains, “Racism can cause feelings of paranoia and confusion – ‘Am I being overly sensitive or is that person or situation racist?’ “It can affect your emotional energy and contribute to chronic stress, anxiety, and depression.” – Madeline Maldonado, LCSW Anxiety Related to Social Isolation & Marginalization

Racism causes people to isolate themselves, become socially anxious, shy, and avoidant. A 2014 study in the Journal of Counseling & Development stated: “Shame involves an internalized experience of emotional isolation, while perceived racism creates a deep sense of social marginalization and relational disconnection. Furthermore, when African Americans are troubled by racism, they can feel isolated and depressed.” And they can’t manage their shame, which leads to more emotional distress.”

In addition to experiencing racial stressors, the process of explaining them worsens anxiety levels. You may have recurring thoughts about the racist incident(s) and question the severity of your experience. Because of its subtle and harmless appearance, specific to microaggressions and covert racism, you’re often invalidated by racial gaslighting statements like, “You’re just playing the race card,” “You’re being dramatic,” or “What’s going on.” For me, I’m white too.

Racism sends internalized messages to individuals or groups that they are undesirable, inferior, and unimportant, affecting an individual’s sense of self-worth and belonging. These constant internal messages lead to sadness, depression, loneliness, anger, frustration, isolation and worthlessness.

Pdf] Cultural Influences On Help Seeking, Treatment And Support For Mental Health Problems

According to a 2015 longitudinal study, adolescents who reported a combination of racial/ethnic discrimination and poor sleep reported a corresponding increase in depressive symptoms and lower levels of self-esteem.

In 2012, researchers described the dynamics of racism and stereotyping between the source (the person or people who hold the stereotype) and the target (the person or people about whom the stereotype exists).

Sources are described as showing hatred, contempt, and aggression toward targets, which in response to targets, lead to frustration, decline, sadness, and despair.

Being a member of a historically targeted group is like having a bull’s eye on your back that remains regardless of perceived social progress. It creates a general sense of helplessness from needlessly confronting centuries of racism, oppression and discrimination.

Addressing The Impact Of Culture On Mental Health

The effects of racism reflect common trauma reactions seen in people with PTSD. Individuals who experience racism exhibit higher stress levels, hyperactivity, and paranoia regarding their safety.

A 2009 study found that 97% of Arab and Muslim Americans reported moderate to severe discrimination in the form of hate crimes, racial harassment, and assault after 9/11.

A similar study found that 94% of participants had symptoms of PTSD, including increased excitement (94.1%), anger (68.6%), feeling sleepy or sleepy (79.4%), emotional numbness (52%), anxiety or fear (52%). 73.5%), and depressed or depressed (59.8%). Results found that feeling less safe after 9/11 was the most significant predictor of PTSD.

“Am I next?” Thoughts like “What will happen to me?” and “Will I be safe?” The resulting racial pressures create cycles of fear, paranoia, hypervigilance, and heightened surveillance responses. The ways our brain responds to chronic hyperarousal through our perceptions of trauma and fear triggers also make it harder to calm and regulate our nervous system.

The Lancet Psychiatry Commission: A Blueprint For Protecting Physical Health In People With Mental Illness

“Racism, racist attitudes, and racist behaviors toward Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) lead to stress, affecting our complex identities. Racism in the workplace and in the classroom

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