Teens need doctors’ help more than school staff
When schools provide guidance to their students about healthy behaviors like going to the gym, eating better and sleeping more, they can stem a tide of violence and discrimination against one of the most vulnerable groups. However, Dr. Evie Rossman, a professor of health psychology at NYU, believes schools face a paradox of sorts when it comes to stemming violence and discrimination among teens. Rather than combating bad habits, the best they can do is help teens change them.
A global study she co-authored, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, looked at adolescent violence and discrimination against LGBT teens around the world. “The study showed the prevalence of prejudice is higher among teens in developing countries and the reasons for it are variable,” she said, with those who face ongoing discrimination the most at risk. In developed countries, well-being predicts good health outcomes.
“I hope the schools and their staffs can reflect and talk about these difficulties with LGBTQ youth and acknowledge that people need help and support from their school in order to change their behavior and protect them,” she said.
This prevention conversation should include more than just school staffers.
“Other places in communities, like youth organizations, police departments, and social service agencies are also important partners in preventing violence, especially young people,” Rossman said.