Let’s Address The Effects of Racism on Mental Health

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Over the past month, the shocking events involving systemic racism in the US shocked the world. But, this is not the first time the issue has come to light. For many generations now, ethnic and racial minorities have experienced some form of racism in their lifetime. Until now, the same problem continues to impact people, whether directly or emotionally. Unfortunately, the experiences of those individuals who were unfairly treated because of their race take a psychological toll on everyone who feels that they too may fall victim.

Trauma and emotional stress due to racism

According to some experts, although there are many studies regarding the economic, political, and social effects of racism, there isn’t enough focusing on how racism impacts ethnic minorities psychologically. But, there are a few psychologists that are already looking into stress and trauma resulting from racism. Similar to post-traumatic stress disorder common among returning military personnel, you can get professional help for the same symptoms. There are plenty of online platforms that offer counseling for almost every mental health issue.

When you are suffering from stress and trauma related to racism, you’ll feel a variety of emotions. It is common for individuals to have depression, anxiety, fear, and sometimes apathy. On the outside, some people are capable of hiding their deep-seated emotions about being treated unfairly because of race. However, over time, these feelings will eventually bubble over and cause greater emotional harm.

Does the medical industry recognize racial trauma and distress as a legitimate mental disorder?

There isn’t a specific mental disorder related to racism. However, the symptoms earlier discussed are known triggers for mental health disorders. Unfortunately, when therapists generalize symptoms without recognizing the underlying cause of the problem, it becomes more challenging to provide effective treatment. What’s necessary to change the situation is for researchers to continue studying psychological conditions attributed to racism so that mental health professionals will have a more reliable reference when treating patients.

In line with the fact that racial trauma and stress isn’t a medically recognized condition, some patients may feel that their condition gets generalized. Yes, it’s possible for some mental health professionals to dismiss a patient’s claim that racism is the only cause of their depression.

What do experts recommend as the best treatment model?

There are many excellent treatment models designed to address trauma. But, there isn’t one that specifically touches on the aspect of race. Even when a psychologist writes a compelling study on the subject, it still undergoes significant peer review and editing. Perhaps one roadblock to acknowledging the issue is that until now, even the medical community considers racial topics a taboo.

Final thoughts

We can’t deny that racism is and will continue to be a problem that affects our future generation. The trauma and stress brought about by the issue impact many people today. And while you can quickly get help from a mental health professional for your symptoms, the treatment will not likely focus on racism as the leading cause of trauma. It’s indeed worth discussing, especially since racial discrimination is a relevant topic and does lead to many unfortunate events. And these unfortunate events will impact people within the same racial ethnicity to experience psychological trauma and stress.

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