Mental Health - Racism and Discrimination

Goals

To understand how racism and discrimination impact the mental health of African American communities by identifying case studies that examine how employees are affected in the business setting, as well as providing possible solutions proposed by experts in the field to inform a workshop regarding the relationship between racism and mental health.

Early Findings

The Impact of Police Brutality

  • George Floyd was killed by a police officer on May 25, 2020. This was one of the many triggers for multitudinary protests in the United States.
  • According to the Mental Health Index report published in July 2020, it was observed that between the months of May and June of that year, there was a decrease in the anxiety scores of Black Americans.
  • As stated by the report, this would be a consequence of increased awareness of anti-Black racism in the country.
  • According to this same report, 17% of those surveyed agree that racism is present in their workplace. This percentage has the lowest score when it comes to mental health.
  • This corresponds to the results reported by an NIH study in which it was determined that racism can lead to mental health issues such as depression, hostility at the workplace, anxiety, and even suicide.
  • In addition, it can lead to a feeling of burnout, which is associated with absenteeism. This can impact the productivity of the employee in question as well as the profitability of the company.
  • This association between exposure to police brutality against Black people and poorer mental health was also shown in a 2018 academic study.
  • While it was not performed in the business setting, this study clearly shows that 49% of Black American participants had been exposed to videos of police killing unarmed Black Americans. Exposure to these videos led to additional poor mental health days among this population, something that was not found in the White group.

Summary of Findings

  • We used this initial hour of research to assess the availability of the information required. While we did not find any case studies focused specifically on the impact of racism on the mental health of Black employees, we were able to compile information regarding the impact of police brutality against Black people on the mental health of Black American workers and Black Americans in general.
  • We did not find information regarding the impact of the emergence of the "Proud Boys" on the mental health of Black Americans during this first hour of research. However, we found sufficient information to provide additional statistics and data regarding the impact of Trump's presidency on the mental health of Black Americans. We did not have time to provide this information in our early findings. We could provide this information as well as additional data with further hours of research.
  • In addition, we have found reports, guidelines, and recommendations made by psychologists, university professors, and business experts regarding solutions that might apply to this subject. While we did not have time to provide this information during this first hour of research, we could do so with additional research hours.

Proposed next steps:

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