July 19, 2022

What is BIPOC Trauma & How to Treat It

Written by Rachel Eddins

Posted in Trauma, Grief & Loss and with tags: PTSD/Trauma, racial trauma

bipoc trauma how to heal

Everyone faces potentially traumatic experiences. Some such events are universal and even common.

However, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) endure some unique variations on this theme. BIPOC trauma—also called racial trauma—relates to a specific kind of danger.

It could be connected to past or ongoing treatment based on prejudice and bias. This treatment ranges from relentless micro-aggressions to downright violence. When a BIPOC is a target or the witness of racial trauma, the impact can be devastating.

Like any form of complex trauma, it can leave lasting scars or even result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

black girl worried racial trauma

The Conditions That Create BIPOC Trauma

The foundation is so normalized that it can render the outcomes invisible. But here are just a few of the daily, even hour-by-hour realities of life as a BIPOC:

  • You don’t see your race widely represented in the media, pop culture, and history books.
  • There is no guarantee that your neighbors will be friendly to you when you move onto their block.
  • When pulled over by a police officer, you cannot be sure if your skin color wasn’t the deciding factor.
  • You get asked to be a spokesperson for everyone who looks like you.
  • When you don’t get a job or a promotion or a good grade at school, there’s a lingering concern that your race played a role.
  • You get followed in a store by employees because you may be more likely to steal.
  • When you succeed, you are called “a credit to your race.”

Obviously, this is a minute sample size. But realities like this add up: day-by-day.

The impact of any one event or the cumulative effect of your day-to-day experiences is enough to create racial trauma and all its related mental health issues.

They also escalate, and that’s when threats and violence along with emotional trauma become far more possible.

black man smiling

How to Treat BIPOC Trauma

Accept the Presence of Trauma

In a society that downplays racism, you may be hesitant or even ashamed to admit what you’re feeling. But there is no shame in trauma. You’ve faced abusive behaviors, and it has impacted you. The sooner you recognize this reality, the sooner you can begin healing.

Practice Self-Care

Prioritize yourself by prioritizing your needs. Take daily care of yourself in the realms of sleep, eating, exercise, and stress management. Create a regimen and stick to it. Normalize self-care and spread the word.

Connect With Community

You are not alone. Everyone in the BIPOC community understands the struggle, and there is strength in numbers. Find ways to connect in person and online. It’s empowering to share together and heal together.

Do Work to Help Others in Need

You are not powerless. Perhaps the best way to demonstrate this fact is to take active steps to help others in your community.

Discover Success Stories

The bad news makes the headlines. But, guess what? The good news is far more plentiful. Go out of your way to discover stories and examples to soothe, inspire, and motivate you.

black woman smiling

Trauma Requires Treatment

When struggling with racial trauma, you need more than self-help steps.

You need a Houston, Montrose, or Sugar Land therapist who gets it and is ready to meet you where you are.

You need validation, coping skills, and resiliency.

If the daily grind of systemic racism has you in a place of despair and depression, trauma recovery help is available.

We invite you—urge you—to reach out to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Let’s get you started on the path of recovery. Despite BIPOC trauma, you can heal, and you can thrive again. We’re here to help you along the way.

To learn more, watch our webinar on racial trauma and how to heal.

Additional Information on our Trauma Services:

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