The impact of racism on the mental health of people of color


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Twenty years later, racism remains an ever-relevant and ubiquitous force—whether named or unnamed—that impacts everyday life for many people of color. Racism, in all its forms, constitutes a significant risk to the mental health of people of color in the United States. This chapter names multiple forms of racism and briefly considers evidence suggesting their impact on the mental health of people of color. It reviews several theoretical frameworks that support conceptualization of racism as a stressor that operates on multiple levels (i.e., individual institutional, cultural) to influence mental health. Next, it provides a brief review of literature highlighting the impact of individual racism as well as institutional and cultural racism on mental health. The goal of this chapter is to summarize and provide perspective on the conceptual and empirical literature addressing the impact of racism on the mental health of people of color. It begins by providing an overview of the various forms of racism and presenting several models that can explain the racism-mental health link. Finally, the chapter provides a summary statement highlighting the significance of this important topic, as well as implications for improving the mental health suffering of people of color who experience racism.

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