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Black Mental Health: Experts say repeated exposure to deadly shootings is taking a toll

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Posted at 7:27 AM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 09:27:10-04

Over the past few years, Americans have watched police involved shootings unfold in different cities across the United States.

According to mental health experts, repeated exposure to these often violent scenes can be damaging.

“To see it over and over again is going to be traumatizing,” said Behavioral Economist Dr. Marjorie Lewis of Denver.

Lewis and other mental health professionals said it’s especially traumatizing for Black Americans.

A study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that there was in increase in “poor mental health days” for Black Americans during periods of one or more deadly racial incidents.

“We’re trying to cope with a systemic approach with building this country that included the suppression and oppression of people from the very beginning,” Lewis said.

But Lewis said there are ways to deal with the trauma of consuming information about these incidents.

First, Lewis suggests identifying and expressing how you feel.

“I would say millennials probably have handled it in the healthiest of ways because they share it. They communicate it and they respond to it. That’s a healthy way to deal with trauma,” Lewis said.

Another option is finding a community of other people who may feel similarly.

Dr. Lewis said if more help is needed, seeking a mental health professional's help is an important option.

During a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared racism as a serious health threat, Lewis said one of the most important pieces of advice is to try to remain hopeful.

“Our capacity to endure and transcend is innate, and there’s nothing anyone can do to take it away,” Lewis said.

For more mental health resources, click here.