"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Health effects of anti-Semitism

Jewish Americans make up just 2% of the U.S. population. However, research shows that in recent times up to at least one in 4 were Jewish People experienced hate speech or other types of anti-Semitic statements and behavior.

Anti-Semitism is the practice of social exclusion, hostility, discrimination, prejudice and, in some cases, violence and harassment against Jewish people. And the incidents are continuously increasing. But this just isn't a brand new trend. Some experts even say that anti-Semitism is considered one of the oldest types of hate and has existed for over 2,000 years.

Unfounded anti-Jewish ideology is commonly rooted in cultural stereotypes, tropes, and conspiracy theories against Jews, which regularly trigger an “us versus them” mentality in society. A one who holds such beliefs is known as an anti-Semite.

Research shows that senseless hatred or otherness toward a bunch of individuals based on their social identity, akin to religion, race, ethnicity, nationality or creed, can result in harmful long-term effects on physical and mental health. It also can suppress personal identity.

Anti-Semites goal individuals who belong to the Jewish community. Being Jewish can mean various things to different people. By 8 o'clock in 10 Jewish Americans discover as Jews because they practice the faith, while about 2 in 10 people discover as Jews due to their cultural heritage, ancestry and ethnicity.

While it's common to associate the beginnings of anti-Semitism with the hateful acts against Jews throughout the Holocaust in Thirties Europe, anti-Semitism has been around for for much longer. And it stays today.

Historically, Jews were stigmatized, isolated, and expelled (banished) from their homelands; have been falsely accused of various things; excluded from the chance to enlist within the military or enroll in schools or colleges; or marry non-Jews.

Anti-Semitism still exists today, but it surely might look somewhat different. Today's incidents may include:

  • Hate speech
  • Insults or taunts
  • Social isolation
  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • Use of anti-Jewish symbolism akin to the swastika
  • Using negative stereotypes against Jewish people in jokes
  • In extreme cases, physical violence occurs in places of Jewish worship akin to synagogues
  • Hateful or threatening messages or interactions from web trolls on social media apps, forums and web sites

If you experience discrimination, bullying or hatred from one other person or from institutions akin to schools, colleges or the workplace, it might have a negative impact in your mental health. It can affect your quality of life in on a regular basis life.

It can trigger:

  • fear
  • Fear
  • stress
  • Doubt
  • uncertainty
  • crankiness
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse through drug and alcohol use

Research shows that Jews who may have skilled help with medication or substance abuse treatment may avoid it because most programs are based on Christian facets.

Fear of anti-Semitism also can cause an individual to suppress their personal identity. This implies that it could prevent someone from fully engaging in various social events or situations due to fear that their identity may very well be used against them.

It is vital to seek out mental health professionals who can provide culturally competent care. Find those that are either a part of the community or an ally who can understand the complexities of being Jewish and provide help to take care of the harmful effects of anti-Semitism.

Mental health also can have a direct impact in your physical well-being. When you encounter anti-Semitic incidents, discrimination, microaggressions, threats, or violence, your body is primed to reply to this kind of stress.

These stressors can result in:

  • Increased levels of cortisol, a hormone triggered by chronic stress
  • Increased pulse
  • inflammation
  • Weakening of immunity
  • hypertension

Doctors or other health care providers often dismiss your concerns, especially in the event that they are unaware of the connection between physical health and anti-Semitism or in the event that they themselves hold anti-Semitic beliefs.

If you might be confronted with an anti-Semitic incident, whether it comes from someone you already know or not, there are several ways to take care of it.

If it's a verbal attack or behavior you must:

  • Check your location, security and surroundings before reacting. If you're thinking that the attacker is likely to be physical or hurt you or your family members, get entangled. Get to safety as quickly as possible.
  • If a friend or someone you already know makes “joking” comments, tell them to stop and explain why you discover it offensive.
  • If you are feeling you might be in peril, call 911 or alert people around you and seek help.
  • Record or take screenshots of messages from the net or messaging apps. Use this as evidence should you plan to alert the authorities. File a criticism with the corporate or organizations operating these web sites.
  • Block and report web trolls or those that harass you.
  • Ask your kids, teenagers or older relatives with language barriers to inform you in the event that they face anti-Semitism.

If it's a physical threat or attack, you must:

  • Call 911 and alert the police.
  • If you might be injured, get medical help immediately. Go to the closest hospital or ask someone nearby to provide help to.

Such incidents can affect your sense of security and overall well-being. Ask your community for support and seek skilled help if needed. They can provide help to take care of the aftermath of such incidents.

If you might be just learning in regards to the impact of anti-Semitism on the Jewish community and wish to assist bring about positive change, you must:

Educate yourself. Make it a degree to learn more about Jewish culture, beliefs, practices, and history of Jews within the United States and all over the world.

Learn more about implicit bias. Your unconscious thoughts and beliefs can influence your behavior and attitude towards others in society. This is known as implicit bias. Take an implicit bias test to learn how you possibly can improve your self-awareness.

Become an ally. Find ways to support the Jewish American community through local or national organizations. If you notice or suspect anti-Semitic incidents, report them to the authorities.