Anxiety In Teens: Cultural Impact
Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, and culture plays a vital role in shaping one’s mental health. Culture can affect the ways in which individuals understand and experience mental health issues such as anxiety. For teens from minority groups, cultural factors can contribute to the onset and perpetuation of anxiety. This blog post will explore the cultural factors that contribute to anxiety in teens from minority groups, the impacts of anxiety on these teens, and culturally-sensitive coping strategies to manage anxiety.
Cultural Factors Contributing to Anxiety in Teens from Minority Groups
• Discrimination And Racism
Teens from minority groups may experience discrimination and racism in various aspects of their lives, including at school, in their communities, and interactions with law enforcement. These experiences can contribute to anxiety, as they can feel isolated, excluded, and unfairly judged. Teens may also internalize negative stereotypes and experience imposter syndrome. They may worry that their accomplishments will be attributed to affirmative action rather than their abilities, leading to anxiety about their future success.
It is crucial to understand the impact of prejudice and racism on the mental health of minority-group teenagers. Addressing and eliminating discrimination and racism can assist to alleviate anxiety and boost these individuals’ general well-being. This can be accomplished by promoting cultural sensitivity, diversity, and inclusion through educational and awareness-raising programs. It is also critical to provide tools and assistance to teens who have faced prejudice and racism, such as access to mental health services and counseling.
Here are some sources that I hope can enlighten some light into this important aspect of our society:
• Community Safety in Tumultuous Times
• A New National Model for Preschool and Child Care in the U.S
• The Community Opportunity Map
• Healing in Action: A Toolkit for Black Lives Matter | Healing Justice & Direct Action
If you have any other resource or tools that you would like to share to keep adding to the conversation please do so in the comment section below. This is an extremely important matter that we, as a socially, should all take part in protecting minority groups.
• Acculturation Stress
Acculturation stress is the stress that individuals experience when adapting to a new culture. This type of stress can be particularly acute for teens from minority groups, who may be navigating the norms and expectations of their parents’ culture while also trying to fit in with their peers in a different culture. The conflicting cultural expectations can lead to feelings of confusion and uncertainty, which can trigger anxiety.
Social support is another important aspect that can influence acculturation stress. Individuals who have a solid support system of friends and relatives who comprehend their cultural heritage and are able to offer both mental and physical assistance are less likely to experience acculturation stress than those who do not. Overall, it is critical to recognize the difficulties of acculturation and implement proactive actions to handle the stress that is associated with it.
Teens from minority groups may also experience cultural identity conflicts. They may feel torn between their cultural identity and the desire to assimilate into the dominant culture. These conflicts can lead to feelings of shame and anxiety about their identity and their place in the world.
Cultural identity problems can lead to a loss of self-esteem and confidence in an individual’s abilities, in addition to emotions of shame and worry. This might show as social isolation, poor performance in school, and even hazardous habits. Furthermore, cultural identity problems can have an impact not only on an individual’s mental health but also on their interpersonal connections. Conflicts among family members who have different ideals or values, can cause tension and strain in the family dynamic.
It is critical for nurturing acceptance and understanding of other cultures in order to manage cultural identity problems. This can involve providing safe venues for people to voice their cultural identity, educating people about cultural diversity, and encouraging open conversation between people from different cultures. Also, it is necessary to recognize that cultural identity is fluid and can change over time, and that individuals have the freedom to choose which components of their culture to embrace and which to reject. We can help individuals establish a stronger sense of self and a greater sense of belonging in their new cultural surroundings by assisting them in their cultural research and identity development.
Impacts of Anxiety on Teens from Minority Groups
• Academic Performance
Anxiety can have a significant impact on academic performance. Teens from minority groups who experience anxiety may struggle to concentrate, experience memory problems, and have difficulty completing assignments. As a result, their grades may suffer, leading to feelings of inadequacy and further anxiety.
We want our teens to feel safe in their own skin while they perform their best abilities in school programs. We don’t want our teens to be scared of going to school, of facing bullying, or any other, racism, or xenophobic harassment. As a society, we need to work together to make this happen.
• Social Relationships
Anxiety can also affect social relationships. Teens from minority groups may feel self-conscious and insecure in social situations, leading to social isolation and difficulty making friends. They may also experience difficulty communicating with their parents or other family members, leading to strained relationships and further anxiety.
This is why communication is so important. Communication with your parents, teachers, friends, and everyone around you that you feel might be doing something wrong. Speaking up is not a matter of whether we should do or or notz. Instead, it’s a matter of having my voice heard when individuals around me want me to stay quiet. Be loud. We’re listening!
Culturally-Sensitive Coping Strategies for Anxiety in Teens from Minority Groups
• Family And Community Support
Family and community support can be a crucial coping strategy for teens from minority groups. Parents and family members can provide emotional support and understanding of the cultural factors that contribute to their child’s anxiety. Community groups and organizations can also provide a sense of belonging and support.
This doesn’t just mean that we need to ask them how their day has been, but instead go deeper in that conversation. Is there something going on in school? How is your relationship with your family members? How do you feel about that? Do you think there’s more that we can do to help you get the proper support that you need?
• Culturally-Responsive Counseling
Culturally-responsive counseling can provide teens from minority groups with a safe and supportive space to explore their anxiety. Counselors who are familiar with the cultural factors that contribute to anxiety can offer specific strategies and support to manage anxiety in a culturally-sensitive manner.
• Mindfulness and meditation practices
Mindfulness and meditation practices can also be effective coping strategies for teens from minority groups. These practices can help teens manage their anxiety and cultivate self-awareness, which can lead to a greater sense of control over their emotions and thoughts.
Mindfulness and meditation practices require paying attention to the present moment with an empathetic approach. For young people from minority groups who may encounter systematic oppression, discrimination, or other kinds of tension,
these practices can enable a venue to find ease and serenity amidst the hardships they could confront. By concentrating on the current instance, kids can learn to examine their ideas and feelings without judgment, which can allow them to further
comprehend and regulate their emotions.
Also, keep a journal! As cliché as all of this may sound, writing down your emotions on a piece of paper can actually help you manage your anxiety. Write what’s going on in your life. Write about your future plans. Write about the things that you’re scared of. Write about anything and everything. It helps you not to keep your feelings bottled up, and it also provides you a safe space to have some peace and tell your story.
Let’s Keep Learning And Advocating
In conclusion, cultural factors play a significant role in contributing to anxiety in teens from minority groups. Discrimination and racism, acculturation stress, and cultural identity conflicts can have serious and damaging effects on a teen’s well-being. Even if you’re not a teen, nor have one, we need to continue advocating for our health system. We need to continue protecting minority groups instead of ignoring their needs. We still have so much to learn and work on, but I think that if we all decide to be part of the change, then hopefully, change will come.
2 thoughts on “Anxiety In Teens: Cultural Impact”
What an extremely interesting article. I am an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher who has spent the last 15 years in Vietnam and I currently have 2 schools in Vietnam. So this article holds a lot of interest for me as I also see it from a slightly different perspective.
There are definitely cultural factors influencing anxiety and stress in teens. Where you see it from one of a minority and discriminatory perspective, being in Vietnam the factors that contribute to this stress are somewhat different but end up affecting the student the same way. Here there is a very strong expectation for the children of the family to be academically ahead of the pack. The hours and workload of the students here are unbelievable. In the “West” we would not believe the hours of study the students put in. Most students start school at 7 am in the morning and without breaking down the daily routine, they will not be back in bed again until 11 or 12 o’clock at night after completing their homework. The students also undertake extra tuition learning English or extra classes in physics or whichever subject they may be having trouble in.
A lot of these students do not have time for any social interaction with others in their peer group. And the goal of the parents is to then send these children to another country like The USA or England or Australia to continue their education there. And it is at this stage I see that is what you are talking about. So the students are doubly unprepared for any form of racism or acculturation stress. Also as their parents remain, for the most part, in Vietnam (Or S.E.A.) there is no family support for these students. I can see no happy outcome in this unless there are some Government bodies involved in supporting and helping these students.
Thanks for a very thoughtful article.
Stephen, this breaks my heart. Children are developing through the ages of 3-6 and they need all the help from their peers to fully understand how life works. It is neglectful to have a kid forbidden to have a social life. I’m sure most parents don’t like this dictation (I’m guessing), but one can only do so much when the government is involved in children’s learning journey. Education is important, but it’s not the only thing that makes a kid. I truly hope that all children in these schools can find peace and never have to deal with any sort of discrimination. As a society, we truly need to reevaluate our values and what we stand for. This can’t keep on happening.