Black Trauma Matters.
As a survivor of PTSD I am bearing witness to the traumatization of black lives. I am angry, sad, and depressed all wrapped in one ball of unexplained emotions. Within the last week we have experienced the continual black genocide in America. We’ve witnessed the shooting of Alton Sterling, the live murder of Philando Castile, and the shootout in Dallas Texas last night. The psychological warfare on black lives is being perpetuated in the media which in turn is causing symptoms of PTSD and Secondary Trauma.
Since Afrikaans were brought over on the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade we have lived with generational psychological trauma. We’ve experienced it with Slavery, Eugenics, “The crack epidemic, The War or Drugs, Mass Incarceration, and Now through black genocide. In The Book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome Dr. Joy Degruy explores the connection between slavery and mental health issues in communities of color.
As a mental wellness advocate I asked myself what I can do. How can I help bridge the gap between the trauma black people are facing and what I know about trauma informed care? Trauma informed care seeks to:
- Realize the impact of the trauma
- Recognize the signs and symptoms of the trauma
Respond to Trauma by giving or receiving support services
Resist Re-traumatization (Seeing the trauma occur again)
While I am not licensed to share medical or professional advice, I’ve reached out to 3 professionals to share their insights on how to practice self-care in these dark times
3 Tips To Deal With Black Trauma
”We have to first acknowledge that the trauma we are experiencing is real instead of downplaying the truth. This is not normal, at least it shouldn’t be. My encouragement to you is:
1) Practice self-care now more than ever. You must maintain yourself body, soul, and spirit to deal with this stress. If you notice changes in your mood, behavior, eating & sleeping patterns that last beyond a couple of weeks consider speaking to a professional. Find someone who is trained in working with multicultural populations that can address race related trauma. This is particularly important if you already have a history of mental health issues.
2) Honor what you are feeling. When things happen in the Black community we process it in a very personal way, it’s not just something that happened to the guy down the street, it happened to our brother or sister. To take it a step further we recognize that it could have happened to us. My encouragement to you is to know that it is okay to mourn.
3) Guard your mind. Distance yourself from the graphic images in the media. Don’t try to address everyone and everything on social media, you do not need to explain your pain. It is added stress and right now you need to heal.
Latrice McNeal, MA, LPC
Owner of Visionary Woman Coaching & Training
“Do Not Bow Down To Fear. Continue to actively use your gifts, live your purpose, and make a difference. I know that in situations like this we can start to feel helpless or that our voice doesn’t matter. We become afraid that nothing will change. However I want you to know it does matter. We need you, and we need you healthy and well.” Latrice Mc Neal
“ Our black teens need to know that they matter. They need to know that their feelings are valid, that they are important human beings, and that they add value to this earth. They need to hear these affirmations from their parents daily, especially during times like these, so that they don’t begin to compromise their worth with self-destructive behavior. Speak love and light over your teens and affirm their precious existence as they take steps towards their futures.”
Coach Keisha Howard, Certified Life Coach
Teen Expert, Founder of Pearl Girls
“Our Black Teens Need To Know They Matter” Keisha Howard
“In the black experience, oppression has been addressed through collective protests and other political actions designed to make change. These current challenges do not demand collective compression but healthy action. Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized this reality in his I Have a Dream speech, when he declared “this is no time for cooling off.” To remain healthy while under assault, Black people have to protests in the streets, organize boycotts, disrupt structures of injustice, and make critical choices when electing officials. This remedy to trauma is also applicable to all people traumatized by oppression inflicted on the black community.”
Dr. Aldon Morris, Ph.D.
Author, Professor of Sociology & African American Studies
“Seeing these attacks graphically displayed on television creates collective black trauma. In order to deal with this trauma black people must engage in expressive actions designed to address the causes of the trauma.”
Dr. Aldon Morris
Disclaimer: This article is not to be taken as medical advice you feel you are having a medical emergency call 911 If you are feeling suicidal please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
If you need someone to talk too try the Crisis Text Line text HELP to 741-74