‘We All Need To Get Help’: How Racial Trauma Is Impacting Black Americans
Evidence of a national racial reckoning abounds –– protests, remembrance ceremonies for victims of police violence, public discourse on the atrocities of slavery, policy proposals for reparations –– yet the weight of racial trauma on Black communities is hard to calculate.
“We’ve heard of things of historical trauma and generational trauma, but it’s all the same when it comes down to it,” Dr. Charmain Jackman, a licensed psychologist, said, underlining the real, physical impact racial trauma is having on Black people’s minds and bodies.
“That chronic stress that comes from exposure to racial violence, racial discrimination… the police brutality, and then things like Tulsa and George Floyd, the impact of those is,” Jackman said, internally wearing us down.
“A lot of us are resilient, and we often push through. We’re often in a mode of survival,” she added. But always being in that “flight or fight” state of mind can lead to anxiety, depression, heart issues, even increased belly fat, Jackman said.
A new study released by the University of Utah found that Black people’s mental health was more negatively impacted after viewing or hearing about incidents of racial violence than white people. In Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit, author Mary Frances-Winters defines and explores the impact of systemic racism, and how it’s passed down, echoing the findings of the study and other mental health professionals, like Dr. Jackman, who are working to get more Black people help.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.