Racial discrimination damages mental health.
Over half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience racial discrimination report feelings of psychological distress, meaning they can go on to develop anxiety and depression.1 There is also a ‘dose’ effect: the risk of high or very high levels of psychological distress increases as the volume of racism increases.3
Almost one third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience high or very high levels of psychological distress – nearly three times the rate for non-Indigenous Australians.2
Ongoing racism increases psychological distress
In a Victorian study by The Lowitja Institute, 97 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people surveyed experienced racism multiple times. The study showed this increased their risk of psychological distress. Subtle forms of racial discrimination such as ‘being left out or avoided’ were shown to be just as harmful to mental health as more overt forms.3