FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Over the past few weeks, the nation has seen another series of videos documenting violent treatment and deaths of minorities at the hands of police. Many people are calling for change.
The Fayetteville square was packed with people over the summer protesting the death of George Floyd. Sunday, a demonstration was held for Daunte Wright, a young black man who was shot and killed by a Minnesota police officer.
Black people and minority communities have been disproportionately impacted by police violence and these incidents can play a role on their mental health.
CEO & Founder of Eason Counseling and Associates, VaShonda Eason, LCSW, tells us some people experience real trauma from seeing images and hearing about these acts of violence. At the same time some feel a deep sense of grief for each life loss.
Eason says the tough thing about treating trauma associated with police violence is that it happens frequently.
Trauma is an emotional response to a disturbing event that disrupts your daily activities. It can show up in many ways through anger, fear, anxiety and depression to name a few.
Eason says you don’t have to experience an incident firsthand for it to impact you directly.
“It’s the same thing with mass shootings. We have these situations where there are mass shootings and every time another one happens… if somebody had been close to the school where that has happened before… close to an area, or every time you go to the theater you might be triggered that’s a trauma,” said Eason.
She adds it’s important to recognize what triggers you; the things that prompts you to re-live that disturbing event all over again and learn how to manage them.
Protesting and spreading awareness about the issues and injustices people face are some ways people are making their voices heard and coping with the deaths of black people and minorities at the hands of police.
She adds if you have children it’s also important to have honest conversations with them about racism and the inequalities some people face in this world so they are better equipped to handle them. They can also lead to change.
“Being able to have those conservations so they can educate others. You want them to be prepared to be able to go out and to be able to stand up for themselves, and know what to say, and know what is right and what is wrong and not be accepting of what is wrong,” said Eason.
Eason emphasizes the need for self care and to prioritize your mental health. She adds not to forget to check in with your loves ones and to check in with yourself adding police violence can bring out lots of emotions that can be tough to navigate. Eason says it is also okay to give yourself a mental break. Take the time to disconnect from social media, and TV to protect your headspace and regroup.