Young people belong to many communities. A community is a group of people that share something, such as a neighbourhood or landscape, a faith, a school, or a social identity. Sometimes people see themselves as part of a particular community. Sometimes it is others who assign a person to a community based on social characteristics.
Socially inclusive communities foster young people’s resilience, health, and well-being. They ensure that they are able to reach their full potential. As a result of stigma and discrimination, however, not all people and communities are treated equally. Some common reasons people face stigma and discrimination in Ontario are their sex, sexual identity, ethno-racial background, ability, and mental health status.
Stigma and discrimination affect young people’s access to the determinants of health and determinants of mental health. Young people who belong to communities that face stigma and discrimination have trouble accessing the services, supports, and resources they need to successfully transition into adulthood. Stigma and discrimination make it hard for young people to feel respected and valued—that they belong and can participate fully. They may internalize negative attitudes, prejudices, and discrimination and feel bad about themselves or blame themselves for the challenges they face. They may exclude themselves from activities and events because they do not feel welcome.
Strategies to create social conditions that fosters resilience:
- Challenge stigma, discrimination, and violence in schools and in communities.
- Promote tolerance among different communities, ideologies, and beliefs.
- Nurture empathy and values such as respect and fairness.
- Work to renew neighbourhoods and communities.
- Create a supportive environment in schools (part of the Foundations for a Healthy School).
- Talk about the role of stigma and discrimination in anti-bullying programs.