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“I, too, Sing America,” said Langston Hughes.

The economic impact of dehumanization and victimization has been passed down for generations. It’s a ripple effect of history and is still happening today. When I think about what the effects of racism on health and mental health are, we must consider systematic oppression, discrimination, and prejudice. Black indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) are being targeted for the color of our skin. This takes a toll on our mental and physical health.

The effects of racism can lead to depression, anxiety, lower self-worth, and PSTD.

Being a part of a marginalized group can cause an increase of stress and paranoia. The constant replay of trauma seen in our communities and media cause us to relive these traumatic events daily. This puts us in a constant fight or flight response. It’s almost as if we are prepped to this response. This then begin to effect areas of life such as school, work, and relationships.

As a clinician, I know when our physical health is not balanced there’s no way our mental health can be. The acts of racism or the feared thoughts of racism can contribute to BIPOC heart disease, learning deficits etc. BIPOC are more likely to experience mental health and chronic illness however are less likely to have adequate treatment and affordable care.

How do we treat people when the source of their problems are external rather than internal?

You do not have to be the target of these acts to feel the aftermath effects of it at all. It is clear that racism has an effect on health and mental health. We’re here to help you cope with your emotions and reactions.

Now that we have identified the problem,

how do we fix it?

Shamecca DeJarnette

Clinician II

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