‘We All Need To Get Help’: How Racial Trauma Is Impacting Black Americans

Photo: Getty Images

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.

Photo: Getty Images

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. 

“We all need to go get help,” Dr. Jackman said. “For so long we’ve been told we don’t deserve” to get mental health checks, but based on the toll it’s taking on minds and bodies, seeking help is important.

Photo: Getty Images

Over the past year, Black mental health professionals reported an increase in demand in therapy among Black Americans, which has been attributed to images of racial violence.

To make the search for help easier, Dr. Jackman founded InnoPsych, an organization that is “changing the face of therapy by ensuring that anyone who wants therapy can find a therapist who understands their cultural background.” She also created My Time to Thrive to help those in need of help but unsure of where to start. 

Outside of therapy, Dr. Jackman says tools like mindfulness, meditation, affirmations, gratitude, and healing circles can help support better mental health outcomes.

“Community is often a way we heal,” Jackman added, emphasizing the historical and cultural connection to practices like healing circles. Jackman’s goal is to help “demystify what happens in therapy” while raising the visibility of Black mental health professionals as the fight for equality and our own well-being continue. 

If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available: 

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

Get the latest news 24/7 on The Black Information Network. Listen now on the iHeartRadio app or click HERE to tune in live.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content