Breakthrough: Confronting Racial Trauma

Breakthrough: Confronting Racial Trauma
How years of mistreatment or a single incident can lead to mental stress.

For more than a year..story after story of racial injustice.   But for many...racial trauma is centuries in the making.

 “The very basic level is just thinking about the effects of racism, and these racial injustices on us as individuals, especially in black and brown communities,” explained Neuroscientist and Addy Hour Host Nii Addy. 

Racial trauma can be from centuries of systemic oppression or a single personal incident.

“Maybe you've encountered some derogatory language yourself that can lead you to to worry about those interactions, that can make you be afraid, it can make you have sleep difficulties,” said Erlanger Turner an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University and the founder of Therapy for Black Kids. 

 And consuming too much news coverage or social media images of violence and mistreatment of your community, can also trigger feelings of anxiety and depression. 

"If constantly we're seeing in the news, or constantly, we are aware of injury to individuals that's directly tied to their race, whether it is interpersonal, or whether it's institutional, after a while, it does take a toll, especially for individuals who have that minoritized identity, because they can so identify with that person that's being affected," explained Flavia DeSouza, a board certified psychiatrist and assistant professor at Howard University.

Experts say the key to maintaining well-being is knowing when to turn it off for a while and when to seek help. 

 "I would say really, it's on a case by case basis, determining how much it is that you might be able to handle at that moment," suggested DeSouza. 

"If you recognize those things that are impacting your life, your ability to interact with coworkers, family members, your kids, then you do want to seek that support from a trained licensed therapist," said Turner.  

Amber Strong, Newsy, Washington.