Navigating Injustice Shares What Race, Faith and Mental Health Mean for BIPOC Gen Z
Mental health issues are a reality for many young people, and COVID only intensified the problem. In 2022, nearly half of young people (47%) told Springtide they were moderately or extremely depressed, 55% reported being moderately or extremely stressed, and 45% said they were moderately or extremely lonely.
And while young Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) also face these same challenges, their experiences are also impacted (and sometimes magnified) by racism and discrimination, which social science research shows are linked to depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Yet, in our latest research report, Navigating Injustice: A Closer Look at Race, Faith & Mental Health, data reveal that young BIPOC are flourishing mentally and emotionally in rates comparable to their White peers. Young BIPOC report high levels of life satisfaction, agency, and self-esteem. When asked about what supports their mental health, over half of young BIPOC (58%) said that their faith matters.
So what does race, faith and mental health look like? See the stats below.
Race and faith intersect for Young BIPOC
For Young BIPOC, race and religion are intertwined, but racial identity is often more front-and-center than religious identity. Many young people claim belief in a higher power and describe themselves as either religious or spiritual, and for young BIPOC, their belief systems and practices are a part of who they are as people. Yet, when they visit a faith community, they can’t take off their race at the door. Racial identity often stays at the forefront of this mix.
As May, 20, told us:
I am the person who can’t leave [race] outside of a space. Being Black shapes the way I think about things in a lot of ways and what I tend to think about. Religious or spiritual places are no exception.
Here’s five other key takeaways from this report:
- For children of immigrants, racial and religious identity are closely tied.
- Young BIPOC are deeply and negatively impacted by racial injustice, both spiritually and emotionally.
- Positive racial and religious identities are associated with good mental health.
- Young BIPOC wish their faith leaders and communities would acknowledge and celebrate their racial identity.
- Young BIPOC wish their faith leaders would address racial injustice from a pastoral perspective.
In our next post, we’ll show what guidance this report gives to faith leaders and other trusted adults who are caring for young BIPOC. See the full report here!