PTSD In the Black Community

PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) is defined as a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as natural disaster, a serious accident, warfare, a terrorist attack, rape, or any other violent/personal assault. When this disorder is mentioned, rarely does it cross peoples’ minds that black people have this disorder. Mental health is rarely something that is talked about in households of color, especially not in black homes. We are raised to believe that with everything we go through all we need to do is pray and God will handle any pain or strife in our lives. Both our depression and PTSD is disregarded and not taken seriously. This has to end. When I talk about PTSD, I am not talking about going to war and seeing people die by the hundreds, I am talking about the years of having fear instilled into our communities by white people for generations.

When talking to my peers of color and even some of my professors, they tell me how they have those feelings of fear and strife they get when they walk past a police officer. We have been antagonized as a community for generations and it is still happening today. Our ancestors were so tortured and conditioned to conform, that even now as black men are being raised, they are taught to be less “aggressive” because it could get them killed, arrested or assaulted. Our PTSD also stems from the environment we are typically raised in. When growing up, no child should have to see their friends or family being killed due to drugs or violence and no child should have to see a lifeless body. But sometimes in our communities, unfortunately, that is all we see. 

There is a constant fear that black people have and it is eating at us every day. We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and it is never appreciated or acknowledged. In addition to having this constant fear, we are reminded every day that this country is not for us. The government is here to hinder us and make sure that we do not surpass white America. So, in order to prevent our rise, we are taken from our families by being killed off, or put in jail for minor crimes. We as a community need to start acknowledging our mental issues instead of taking everything with a grain of salt. It is okay to be sad, it is okay to be depressed or have suffered from trauma. What is not okay, is the fact that we push all of our emotions down until it breaks us. We as a people have endured the most trauma and the most pain, but instead of trying to ignore it we need to talk about it. White America tells us to get over slavery or that racism does not exist anymore and we don’t have anything to worry about. But we know that we can not get over it. We know that racism is still alive and well in this country. But, something we can not continue to do is allow all of these things to eat at us. Going to therapy does not mean you’re crazy, it just means that you need help dealing with things that are too heavy for you to carry.


Here are some links listed below for therapists who look like you!: