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Race-Related Trauma and the Development of PTSD
October 16, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm CDT
Courtland C. Lee, Ph.D. Full Professor, Counselor Education, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington DC
Maverick Hill, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Student, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington, D.C. Campus
Kristian Cullins, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Student, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington, D.C. Campus
In 2020, the Black Lives Matter Movement ignited, after millions witnessed the unnecessary death of George Floyd. It was not the first time that a black man died by the hands of a white officer, but people worldwide protested and called for social justice and change. For one of the first times in history, communities are having conversations about race in America.
A discussion topic that remains understudied is the relationship between the Black experience in America and the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is often associated with significant traumatic experiences such as war veterans or sexual assault; however, PTSD can develop in anyone after exposure to a traumatic event.
Research suggests African American and Latinx communities may develop PTSD at greater rates than White Americans (Sibrava et al., 2019). Direct experience with racism or the constant reminder of race-related danger both contribute to race-based stress. Additionally, microaggressions and even perceived discrimination increase the risk or worsened PTSD symptoms and other mental illnesses (Sibrava et al., 2019).
In this roundtable discussion, we provide an overview of the evidence linking race-related trauma and the development of PTSD. Furthermore, we incorporate our personal experience to promote a deeper understanding of Black American identity to communities who might not share oppression and marginalization experiences. Through continued conversations about racism-related experiences, we hope to help facilitate long-term change.