Social Scientists Say Conversations About Race Can Help Children’s Mental Health

Monday, September 7th 2020, 4:46 pm
By: Ashley Izbicki

TULSA, Okla. -

The Black Lives Matter movement has opened the door for parents of all races to talk to their kids about racial discrimination.

Social scientists said that those conversations can also help protect the mental health of kids of color in the wake of increased racial awareness.

Researchers studied 700 Black fifth graders to determine how perceived racism affected their well-being. They found as kids who experienced discrimination, such as racial slurs, insults or physical threats, were more likely to experience increased depressive symptoms. The same study found nurturing and involved parents could mitigate the effects.

Erlander Turner is a clinical child psychologist who studies race and mental health.

"We know that talking about race, having these healthy conversations about one's culture and racial identity that those things are protective in terms of preventing negative mental health outcomes and fostering a sense of resilience,” Turner said.