Black Trauma: Made in America theoretical framework


I have witnessed on social media and television the police brutalities and colorblindness our nation has experienced recently that has heighten my awareness of the Unites States' poor psychological wellness in individuals and groups, such as, the law enforcement and low-income communities, like the African Americans in the impoverish communities of Ferguson, Missouri. I want to focus more on African American low-income families who are exposed to frequent traumatic events. Beckett (2014) mentioned how "...mental health/medical professionals are now beginning to trace effects of untreated post-traumatic stress disorder on neighborhoods that are already struggling with unemployment, poverty, and the devastating impact of the war on drugs (Black America's Invisible Crisis, Beckett, 2014). Unfortunately, some African American poverish communities have an unhealthy relationship with law enforcement. This type of intervention and prevention could help improve the relationship with law enforcement and the psychological well-being of the low socioeconomic status African American communities. The benefits of post-traumatic stress disorder counseling could help African American low socioeconomic status to have financial stability (steady employment), low crime rate (healthy coping mechanisms), lower school dropout rate (teaching children healthy coping skills, building healthy relationships, and to see warning signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). In Black America's Invisible Crisis, Beckett states how post-traumatic stress disorder affects different age groups and gender differences (Beckett, 2014). Uneducated individuals will categorize or stereotype certain groups to experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, such as war veterans, battered women, etc. The burden of post-traumatic stress of low-income communities of color gets very little attention (Beckett, 2014). Arthur C. Evans Jr., Ph.D. stated, "... all the gun violence, we have a lot of traumatized people, and it's not just the people who are being shot and shot at, it's the people who are witnessing it, the vicarious trauma (Beckett, 2014)." This presentation will not only educate where our services are needed but also heighten our awareness on being culturally competent on our approach and assessment on this population.

            Many people do not realize police brutality goes beyond physical. Psychological trauma faced by victim(s) manifested itself in many ways, such as stress, anxiety, fear, paranoia, distrust, insomnia, anorexia, and depression (Brewer et. al, 1999). Such psychological symptoms can further be manifested as Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Brewer et. al, 1999). Police brutality must be recognized, investigated, and acted upon as a serious health concern because of its obvious deleterious effects on individuals, their families and communities (Carlier et. al, 1997). These findings have enlightened me on the animosity some African American communities especially in impoverish communities feel towards law enforcement. The perception African American male may view law enforcement as a threat and not as help.



•To educate mental health counselors, advocates, and consultants about other untreated high risk PTSD populations that have been overlooked.

 •To educate counselors in the school system on the warning signs of PTSD in children residing in high violence and impoverish communities.

 •To develop and implement a close support-therapy group in low income communities for those who have experienced violence (gun, gang, or police brutality) at a faith based organization

 •To educate the audience on ways to partner law enforcement and faith based organization implementing intervention in the low-income African American communities

 •To educate the audience on ways to refer and make crisis intervention services available to violence (gun, gang, or police brutality) victims that hospitalized (Primary Prevention, Secondary Prevention, and Tertiary Prevention).



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Brewin, C.R., Andrews, B., Rose, S. & Kirk, M. (1999). Acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of violent crime. Journal of psychiatry, 156, 360-6.

 Carlier, I.V., Lamberts, R.D., & Gersons, B.P. (1996). PTSD in relation to dissociation in traumatized police officers. American journal of psychiatry, 153, 1325-8.

 Calier, I.V., Lamberts, R.D. & Gersons, B.P. (1997). Risk factors for post-traumatic stress symptomology in police officers: a prospective analysis. Journal of psychiatry, 185, 498-506.

Chappell, A.T. & Piquero, A.R. (2004). Applying social learning theory to police misconduct. Deviant behaviors. 25: 89-108.

Fitch, B.D. (2011). Understanding the psychology of police misconduct. The police chief 78, 24-27.