Home/Educational Resources/Mental Health/Understanding and Healing from Racial Trauma

Understanding and Healing from Racial Trauma

Racial Trauma is a term coined to capture the deleterious impact of race-related stress, racial harassment, racial violence (including witnessing such violence), racism, and discrimination on mental health functioning.  Similar to other trauma, like sexual assault, Racial Trauma shares similarities to PTSD.  Unfortunately, among students of color, the common stressors of the college experience are often compounded by the burden of racism and racial trauma. What’s more, many Students of Color may experience not just single events of overt racism, but continual and systemic incidents and exposure. 

Racial Trauma may result in symptoms of poor concentration, depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, irritability, and low self-esteem and negative self-image (including internalized racial hatred). Racial Trauma may result intense emotional and physical repercussions that can impact multiple aspects of wellbeing and student success. Responses to racial trauma mirror those of other significant traumas and stressors.

For many years public and mental health professionals have known that racism, discrimination, oppression and inequality have negative effects on physical, mental, and spiritual health.  Learn more and sound the alarm!

Racial Trauma is a Public Health Emergency

Racism and Microaggressions Lead to Worse Health

Discrimination is Harmful to Your Mental Health

United Nations says racism and xenophobia are ‘contagious killers’ too

Get the Facts about Racial Trauma (PDF)

Collective Grief and Trauma

This website has been created to assist with understanding and healing racial trauma. While there is no resource that can completely end or shield someone from the impact of racial trauma, these resources can hopefully in some small way help people to cope, and live healthier and more fulfilled lives in the face of racial trauma.  While never forgetting that the real work is to change our communities, society, country and world so that resources like these become unnecessary. 

Sharing and printing options: