It is evident that the social determinants of health, specifically social inclusion, have a strong impact on mental health in the younger population.
The pro-social community of skateboarding as a vehicle for mental health was discovered through research performed by Burt in 2011.
Burt published an article exploring the wellbeing benefits of creative hobbies in the older population. The significance of this trial was the emphasis that social inclusion can be fulfilled through creative hobbies (Burt, 2011), therefore a creative hobby such as skateboarding, could act as a therapeutic method for mental health in the younger population.
Supporting the notion of social inclusion within skateboarding was identified by Goldenberg, who performed a survey with over 150 skateboarders in 2009. The trial uncovered what skateboarders value the most out of skateboarding. Goldenberg reported that 2 of the top 7 most salient outcomes identified by skateboarders were in terms of social inclusion, camaraderie and social opportunities. The trial by Goldenberg showed how the interpersonal social factors satisfied by skateboarding are an important outlet for positive youth development.
To further support the evidence, in a trial by Wood in 2014, observational data was gathered from a skatepark in Perth, Australia. This data included the frequency of pro-social behaviours such as: socialising with friends, taking turns, respecting others, and helping each other. These frequent pro-social behaviours within skateboarding are what can form social support networks to potentially benefit mental health in the younger population. Wood’s result of social inclusion within skateboarding reflects qualitative data found through the lived experience of skateboarders.
Underlying how skateboarding satisfies social inclusion is the reason that minimal barriers to entry, and therefore a non-existent social class hierarchy within skateboarding, is present (Humbert, 2006).
Since skateboarding does not marginalise individuals, there is a form of social justice whereby the inclusion allows skateboarders to live free from discrimination and not constrained to a social gradient (Burt, 2011). Skateboarding provides an increasingly rare sense of belonging for children.
In the words of Ellis Watt “The skateboarding community is known as one of the most welcoming communities as regardless of someone’s health, gender, race or age everyone shares a passion, skateboarding. This may be the reason why it is such a supportive space as every skateboarder wants to see each other succeed and will support one another to do that”.
Our kid learned two critical life lessons (not including how to tic-tac): with practice, she could get better at anything, and falling down is an unavoidable part of the process. These “get better” lessons are cornerstones of a “growth mind set” that is, a mind-set that leads one to persist despite lack of obvious talent and despite inevitable setbacks.
Edward Shepard, 2017
A 21 year old Canadian woman reported that skateboarding cured her depression. While there have been no formal studies on the issue, skateboarding does keep your mind busy, and riding out in the sun with the breeze through your hair can’t hurt either.
Steven Lerner, 2015
When you’ve conquered things like hand rails, concrete bowls, and stair sets, a lot of problems you might encounter in life are greatly reduced or disappear all-together. Landing tricks also brings a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Most importantly, skateboarding is fun and brings about happiness.
Novice skaters will learn in time that if they believe in themselves, and have faith that they can land the trick they are about to attempt, it makes success significantly easier. And this benefit translates into all sorts of non-skateboarding situations and environments, which is good because self-confidence in anything is a desirable trait.
Travis Aitch, 2011
Skateboarding can be used to develop social skills and awareness. You’re always looking at possibilities, meeting people, figuring out what you can skate.
Ross McGouran, 2017
Skating provides an increasingly rare sense of belonging for kids.
Edward Shepard, 2017
Goldenberg reported that 2 of the top 7 most salient outcomes identified by skateboarders were in terms of social inclusion, camaraderie and social opportunities. The trial by Goldenberg showed how the interpersonal social factors satisfied by skateboarding are an important outlet for positive youth development.
Goldberg Survey, 2009
It is evident that the social determinants of health, specifically social inclusion, have a strong impact on mental health in the younger population. When the question becomes how to fulfil social inclusion, skateboarding is a valid answer.
It’s happened to most of us. We judge people based on their looks, their fashion, how tattooed they are. Yet, according to Glettner, no matter how you look, you are welcomed. What’s more, there’s always someone to help you get back on your skateboard. So now my boys have become part of the camaraderie that skaters have with one another.
Mum Blogger, 2013
Skateboarding is all about falling down and getting back on the skateboard. With the right coaching and encouragement, kids learning to skateboard will be motivated to learn how to fall. They will then learn how to keep going and become better no matter how many falls it takes. Thus, a great lesson on endurance and perseverance can come with skateboarding.
School is Easy Tutoring, 2015