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Prejudice "hampers mental health"

A study by NHS Health Scotland has found that people who experience prejudice are more likely to suffer poor mental health.

The Dimensions Of Diversity report set out to produce a snapshot of the country by identifying population groups and their key health issues, and the results showed that prejudice affected people in the same way, whatever their background.

The study examined the experiences of different sections of society, including gay people, disabled people, asylum seekers and those from ethnic minorities, and found that "Scotland is still home to deeply rooted prejudice based on fear, perhaps even dislike, of difference".

The report said: "There is a repeated finding of diminished mental health because of the pervasive and insidious effects upon wellbeing of experiencing personal prejudice."

It suggested that creating opportunities for people to mix can undermine prejudice, and said this would be helped by "the shared search for solutions, whether that be adequate housing, responsive healthcare or healthy choices in the local shop".

The report concluded that health services "aspire to inclusion but can fall short in different ways for different population groups", and warned that "only a few lucky individuals will not encounter mental and physical challenges in their lives".

Dr David Gordon, former head of the public health observatory division at NHS Health Scotland and the report's lead author, said: "It is important that those working to reduce health inequalities are able to consider more carefully what impact diversity may have on people's health and their health needs."

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NHS Health Scotland