April 18, 2021 | The Associated Press

Black Americans experiencing collective trauma, grief

From the Associated Press

Steven Kniffley said each generation of Black Americans since slavery has faced its own unique iteration of racism and discrimination, which has manifested into a form of intergenerational trauma.

“We’ve essentially handed down 10 or 15 generations worth of boxes of trauma that have yet to be unpacked, and that’s what’s contributing to a lot of those biological and mental health related issues that we’re having,” Kniffley said, noting the trauma extends beyond police violence.

In a 2018 study examining the mental health impact of police killings on Black Americans, researchers found exposure to police killings of unarmed Black Americans had adverse effects on mental health among Black people. Nearly half of Black Americans who responded said they were exposed to one or more police killings of unarmed Black Americans in their state of residence — either through word of mouth or the media.

“That effect was found only in Black (Americans),” said Dr. Atheendar S. Venkataramani, one of the authors of the study and a physician at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia.

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