Coping with images of police brutality, racial injustice in black communities

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – People in black communities around the country are expressing their frustrations over police brutality and the unjust killing of black men and women through protests.

Most recently, the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

Pictures and videos can be found all over social media and television screens, and it’s fueling emotions of sadness and anger. It has also triggered personal mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

Licensed Professional Counselor LaShonna Fletcher, of Creative Sisters Counseling, LLC, explains seeing the images can be triggering.

“Your body warns you when it’s been enough. You may feel issues in your chest area, heart palpitations. Those are symptoms of some sort of panic,” she explained.

Fletcher said social media sites like Facebook can trigger these symptoms.

“Causing them to have those different anxieties, become depressed, not wanting to leave the home, because they don’t feel safe due to the virus. They don’t feel safe due to the racial injustice that’s taking place at this time.”

She suggests turning off the phone and television.

“Grounding techniques. Talking to friends, talking to family, maybe having video calls with your friends and loved ones, at least once or twice a week.”

However, Fletcher said when you reach a point of anger, it’s best to seek a therapist. She explains in the black community, there’s a stigma surrounding black people seeking advice from therapists. She said usually there’s rules like, “what happens in this house, stays in this house.” This usually causes to people to bottle up their emotions inside until the explode.

“It can be one session, and you feel like you’ve unloaded everything. And you may have felt that’s all I did was talk. Yeah, talking helps. Talking gets it out.”

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