The Ill Effects Of Racial Trauma

Individual Counseling Insights brought to you by California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

From the death of George Floyd in May of last year to the Capitol riots of January 6th, there has been an onslaught of racially charged events that we all have to deal with. In fact, dealing with racism can involve trauma that needs to be addressed in order to heal. 

Black woman

“Racial trauma is a reaction to experiences of racism, including violence or humiliation,” says Krystal Kavita Jagoo in an article on “You might also hear it referred to as race-based trauma or race-based traumatic stress.

“All types of trauma,” Jagoo says, “including racial trauma, can contribute to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health condition marked by a range of mental and physical effects.”

These mental and physical effects can show up as:

  • Hypervigilance or greater apprehension. 
  • Anxiety and depression. 
  • Nightmares or flashbacks. 
  • Increased substance use. 
  • More aggressive behavior. 
  • Reduced hope for the future. 

For a range of tips to cope with PTSD, especially if it is in reaction to racial trauma, see Jagoo’s full article here.