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Does discrimination have a negative impact on health?

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2022 | employee rights |

In an ideal world, people should feel comfortable and safe at work, home, school and in society so they can thrive personally and professionally. Unfortunately, discrimination still occurs in all forms and affects all types of people. For example, employees experiencing or witnessing discrimination at work may notice that bigotry also extends into their home lives in unexpected ways.

One of the biggest areas where the negative effects of discrimination appear is one’s health.

Negative health outcomes

When someone experiences discrimination, the hurt this person feels can quickly spiral into a whole host of unhealthy issues. Normally happy individuals might start feeling deep despair, overwhelming stress, emotional exhaustion and depression. They might start to withdraw socially and notice a difference in their memory.

These changes in mental state can also trigger chronic physical diseases by activating certain genes. Children and teenagers who experienced direct or indirect discrimination at a young age may notice their physical health deteriorate in adulthood. People might start struggling with anxiety, depression, diabetes, obesity and heart disease for the first time in their lives.

Solutions to the issue

There are no clear-cut ways to solve the systemic and societal issues that lead to discrimination. Racism, sexism, ableism and the like need addressed on an individual, community, national and global level. By listening and learning from more diverse groups discussing their experiences, people might learn to be less fearful and more tolerant. Schools and workplaces incorporating policies fostering more supportive environments can help decrease experiences of discrimination.

Overall, discrimination does have adverse effects on both the health and social life of a person.