What is racial trauma? Racial trauma can result from racial stressors including microaggressions, discrimination, and violence fueled by racial prejudice. Racial trauma can cause both physical and mental health symptoms, such as anxiety, high blood pressure, anger, and hopelessness, and harmful behaviors like withdrawing from prosocial activities, substance use and delinquency. We can cope with and heal from racial trauma through individual and collective actions like peacefully protesting, unplugging from social media, and practicing self-care.
Our Public Health Messaging Campaign seeks to educate the community about the harmful effects of racial stressors and spread awareness about ways to cope with our friends, families, and neighbors!
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What is racial trauma? Racial trauma can result from racial stressors including microaggressions, discrimination, and violence fueled by racial prejudice.
For us to begin addressing racial trauma, we must first learn to recognize its signs, both within ourselves and in those around us. Mental health effects of racial trauma include abrupt changes in thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
Consider taking some time for yourself and disconnecting from potential sources of trauma, such as the news or social media. Implement self-care routines with things you enjoy doing to prioritize your own wellbeing. You can also put your efforts towards activism in the community through peaceful protests.
There are many ways that you can take action against racism! You can start by reading literature by and about the experiences of POC! If you're still in school or have a student in school, you can take it a step further by demanding anti-racist education. Have conversations about racism and its potential traumatizing effects and empower yourselves and others to participate in voting and peaceful protests to help push for systemic change. Also, money talks, so take your business to organizations that share your support for people of color and anti-racist principles!
Non-Back individuals can take action as allies to those who experience racial trauma. Participate in difficult conversations about race and identity. Listen openly to educate yourself. Use your privilege to amplify the voices of those who are affected. Show your support by challenging acts of discrimination that you witness. Take part in protests and be active in facilitating conversations between different perspectives.
Finding the time and best ways to recharge are important for maintaining your mental health, especially when living in the U.S. as a person of color. Unplugging from social media or finding peace in poetry, prayer, or meditation are a few good outlets of relaxation. Even taking a few minutes to practice deep breathing can be an incredibly effective form of self-care.
Discover the healing power of unplugging!! Social media and the news seem to constantly deliver information and images that evoke grief and stress. If you find yourself upset, unable to concentrate, or otherwise tired of arguing with strangers online, set boundaries for yourself to practice self-care!
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), helps to physically release stress held in the body. This is particularly helpful for those who experience the stresses that result from racism. To perform PMR, the practicer tenses and releases different muscle groups throughout the body. You begin by taking deep, calming breaths; then the hands, shoulders, arms, and feet are individually engaged and disengaged until the entire body is completely released and relaxed.
Try turning off the TV during dinner, staying away from social media before bed, or talking to a like-minded loved one instead of watching the news. Consider limiting your online connectivity to a structured schedule so that your exposure to potentially traumatizing media is under control, even as new, sensational headlines continue to be published. Girl, unplug!