African Americans are experiencing vicarious trauma and secondary traumatic stress. Vicarious trauma and secondary traumatic stress are the negative changes, effects, and reactions to trauma exposure which can result in negative changes or dilemmas in a person's physiological, emotional, psychological, and behavioral health (Office for Victims of Crime, n.d.). African Americans are experiencing vicarious trauma and secondary traumatic stress due to the negative changes that have occurred in society. These negative changes include the high rates of the ongoing events regarding police brutality, unemployment, financial insecurity, food insecurity, the school to prison pipeline, lack of access to healthcare, incarceration, and the influx of African American people that are dying from the coronavirus.
Over the years these negative changes and many more such as oppression and discrimination takes a toll on African Americans' physiological, emotional, psychological, and behavioral health. Some symptoms that African American people may experience are Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), increased irritability, anxiety, despair, difficulty managing emotions, etc which are an effect from the trauma that they have experienced (Office for Victims of Crime, n.d.). Society has displayed indirect and direct images on the television through movies, television shows, and on the news, that African Americans tend to be seen as criminals because of the color of their skin. Society is wrong because you can not generalize negative images, negative connotations, and negative contexts toward one group of people or a single group of people such as African Americans. Now, you tell me, why African Americans should not protest for justice and positive changes to occur in society? If African Americans can receive justice and equality in a free society they can begin to work towards the road of vicarious resilience to try and mend their lives back together with the help of a Counselor or a Mental Health Professional.
Office for Victims of Crime. (n.d.). Vicarious Trauma Toolkit: What is Vicarious Trauma? Retrieved June 07, 2020, from https://vtt.ovc.ojp.gov/what-is-vicarious-trauma.