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STRESS IN AMERICA: Impact of Discrimination on Mental Health

June 22, 2016

A wealth of psychological research shows that discriminationcan exacerbate stress. Moreover, discrimination-related stress islinked to mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression,even in children.1,2 In this year’s examination of the state ofStress in America™, the American Psychological Association (APA)highlights the connection between discrimination and stress,along with the resulting impacts on relationships, employmentand overall health.

Experiencing Discrimination in America

Nearly seven in 10 adults in the U.S. (69 percent) report having experiencedany discrimination, with 61 percent reporting experiencing day-to-daydiscrimination, such as being treated with less courtesy or respect, receivingpoorer service than others, and being threatened or harassed. Within thisreport, discrimination is reported across subgroups of adults, including age,race or ethnicity,3 disability, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.For example, adults with a disability are twice as likely as adults without adisability to say that their life has been harder (a lot or some) because ofdiscrimination and that discrimination has interfered with them being able tolive a full and productive life (for both references: 19 percent of adults with adisability vs. 9 percent of adults without a disability).4 For all groups surveyed,the most commonly reported experiences of major discrimination relate toemployment.

Almost half of all adults (47 percent) report experiencing major forms ofdiscrimination, which include police unfairly stopping, searching, questioning,physically threatening or abusing them; neighbors making life difficult forthem or their family upon moving into a neighborhood; a teacher or advisordiscouraging them from continuing their education; or experiencing unfairtreatment when receiving health care

The good news is that the Pro Bono Counseling is free and available by Googling that site. You may also call our office for other agencies offering pro-bono mental health counseling.