Racism hits mental health of victims

A survey in Australia has found that people who face profilic racist incidents are more likely to suffer high level of mental distress.

The survey conducted by VicHealth, Beyondblue, University of Melbourne and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship of 1139 people found 40 per cent of victims of at least nine incidents of racist behaviour had suffered high or very high mental distress.

Lead researcher Margaret Kelaher, from the University of Melbourne, said it was a deeply entrenched and complicated health issue in Victoria.

“A major finding of this study is that racism at any level is associated with worse mental health,” she said. “People who experienced racism on a monthly or more frequent basis were more likely to be above the threshold for high psychological distress than people who had no experience of racism.”

The research adds to the growing body of research highlighting the psychological impact of racist incidents upon victims.

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