Parents’ experiences of racism affect their children’s mental health and vice versa, according to a new briefing published today, World Mental Health Day, by Centre for Mental Health and King’s College London.
A constant battle finds that racism has far-reaching impacts on parents, their children, and the relationships between them. Based on research with both parents and teenagers from UK racialised communities, the briefing finds that both past and present experiences of racism can affect mental health across generations of a family.
The study provides more evidence that racism has a profound and negative impact on a person’s mental health. One participant described the daily fight against racism as “a constant battle that knocks you”. Parents referred to the “heavy” sadness of seeing their child experience racism at school, and one participant described “always [being] in that high-stress sensitive state because you’re always being triggered”. Another participant referred to the heightened fear for themselves and their family caused by racist threats on social media following England’s loss at Euro 2020.
A constant battle finds that daily experiences of racism also influence parent-child relationships, with parents attempting to limit their children’s exposure to racism and having to answer their children’s questions about racism.
A constant battle calls on the Government to commit to tackling all forms of racism through a cross-government strategy. It also says that the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England should fully resource work with racialised communities to design more racially equitable mental health support.
Read the report here.