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How tragic events are impacting mental health during pandemic

How tragic events are impacting mental health during pandemic
Posted at 6:50 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 19:55:34-04

Recent images of deadly police encounters and the pandemic are taking a toll on mental health, especially in the black community.

George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor are some of the names part of a growing list of those killed in recent months.

Their deaths are what many would argue shows the years of mistreatment of black people in America.

"The trauma and terror from the past doesn't go away trauma," crisis therapist Reginald Lemelle said. "It's carried on throughout generations."

It's a pain felt by many, especially for some of the youngest in America.

"We live in a world where; we're creating an opportunity for these kids to never feel safe,"Lemelle said. "They're always operating on a level of anxiety or angst and that in turn over a long period of time is trauma in itself. It's nothing that dissipates in a little time."

He added, "Imagine these young black kids who have now witnessed in a matter of months multiple deaths of black males and females. Their parents who may not be able to protect them and now they can't even depend on the people who were sworn to protect them. That in itself is another trauma"

It's an example of collective trauma where traumatic events impact an entire society.

While it's hard Lemelle says people can cope by being vulnerable and expressing their feelings in a healthy way.

Talk to someone you trust and remember your feelings are valid. He also says it's okay to disconnect and unplug from social media and other outlets.

"A trusted person that you can sit with alone in a quiet space where you feel safe and feel like you can trust that person to hold tight with what you're trusting them with. Try to process that grief, sadness, anger , and frustration. If you can't find a mental health practitioner find a mentor or a teacher that your trust."

Lemelle is a therapist with The Center for Children & Families. For more information on their services visit https://www.standforhope.org/

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