Racial Trauma and Coping Mechanisms

Recently, due to the media, it has become increasingly apparent that people of color (POC), more specifically black indigenous people of color (BIPOC), face discrimination and go through many hardships as apart of their daily lives all around the world.


Many times this discrimination results in racial trauma, which negatively affects the mental health of these individuals and can often be overlooked due to harmful stereotypes and mental health stigmas.

What is Racial Trauma?

Racial trauma is the negative effect that instances of discrimination and racial prejudice have on the mental health of people of color. These instances can include hate crimes, microaggressions, and more.

Signs of Racial Trauma and its Effects

Racial trauma can result in an array of mental health issues including…

  1. Depression
  2. Anxiety
  3. Reliving traumatic experiences
  4. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, racial trauma can create a diagnosis of PTSD when an individual presents negative moods, avoidance, is shown to relive past discriminatory experiences, and more symptoms.

Coping with Racial Trauma

It is important to prioritize and practice self-care, which can be anything from doing activities that make you happy to taking a relaxing bath at the end of the day.
Protecting your health is also key. Understand your symptoms and learn about when and why you feel upset. Stay away from places/people that could trigger you and keep track of your health in this recovery process.
Talking to a counselor and/or a friend about your experience can help you process your trauma. Do not be afraid to reach out for support.

Allyship and Advocating

If you care about topics such as racial trauma and mental health for BIPOC then speak up about…

  1. The need for more POC counselors, including and especially women of color counselors
  2. Fighting mental health stigmas in communities of color
  3. The struggle for people of Black and Latinx communities to access mental health resources and services
  4. Support POC voices advocating for the prioritization of mental health
More Information and Sources Used

  1. Uncovering the Trauma of Racism
  2. Coping with Racial Trauma
  3. The Trauma of Racism
  4. Title Understanding the Insidious Trauma of Racism: An Exploration of the Impact of Racial Socialization, Gender, and Type of Racist Experiences