Social Determinants of Mental Health in Adolescents and Young Adults in Western Nations – A Literature Review
Social determinants, such as culture, socioeconomic status, sex/gender, lifestyle and environment, and social media, heavily influence adolescent and young adult mental health in the United States and Europe. Racial and cultural minority groups are more likely to suffer from mental illness. African and Native Americans have expressed the most discrimination amongst minority groups in the United States, which may contribute to the increased prevalence of mental illness in these groups. College-aged Asian Americans have high rates of suicidality although they are less likely to receive a mental health diagnosis compared to Caucasian counterparts. Outside of race, low socioeconomic status is associated with poor coping skills and poor mental health. Sex/gender expression shows a discrepancy in suicidality, as girls attempt suicide more often, while boys are more likely to successfully complete suicide. This may be due to increased prevalence of internalizing mental disorders in females and externalizing mental disorders in males. Gender minorities have increased depression and anxiety, and a significant percentage report mistreatment by healthcare officials. Data regarding the effects of social media and mental health is varied, and no strong association has been demonstrated between social media use and mental health. Environmental outcomes such as noise pollution and disparity of healthcare workers have been shown to have a negative impact on mental health.