A new study finds young adults who experience frequent discrimination are 25% more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness compared with those who experience less discrimination or none at all.
Researchers at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine found people who faced discrimination at least a few times per month were also twice as likely to develop severe psychological distress compared to those who experience less or no discrimination, CNN reports.
The study found dealing with any degree of discrimination was associated with a 26% higher risk for having poor overall health. Experiencing frequent discrimination was linked with greater use of substances such as amphetamines, marijuana, tranquilizers, barbiturates or cocaine in the last year without a doctor’s prescription.
The study included a decade of health data from 1,834 Americans who were ages 18 to 28 when the research began.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront new mental health challenges—particularly for vulnerable populations,” researcher Yvonne Lei said in a university news release. “We have the opportunity to rethink and improve mental health services to acknowledge the impact of discrimination, so we can better address it to provide more equitable care delivery.”