Written by Serie McDougal III
Recently Raja Staggers-Hakim (2016) wrote an article called The Nation’s Unprotected Children and the Ghost of Mike Brown, or the Impact of National Police Killings on the Health and Social Development of African American Boys. Here he discusses the impact of national police brutality cases and extrajudicial killings on the social development, mental health, and overall wellbeing of young African American males. Staggers-Hakim (2016) also discusses recommendations for social policies. With new investigations of police-induced trauma, researchers tend to want to move toward discussing solutions—which is no doubt important. However, there are very few investigations that move beyond discussing the need for solutions such as healing, to actually explaining the very processes for healing.
It is well known that the continuous experience of racism can lead to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (emotional stress, physical harm, and fear). Evans, Hemmings, Burkhalter, & Lacy (2016) do more than merely explain post-traumatic stress disorder, and propose a process for guiding Black males toward post traumatic growth (PTG). According to these researchers, PTG can be achieved through strategies incorporated into the provision of counseling services. PTG is defined as an individual’s experience of positive change and resiliency following a traumatic life event (Evans, Hemmings, Burkhalter, & Lacy, 2016). Research tends to focus on the devastating consequences racial trauma, although between 30 and 90 percent of people who experience trauma experience positive growth and change (Evans, Hemmings, Burkhalter, & Lacy, 2016). 2007).
Evans, Hemmings, Burkhalter, & Lacy (2016) present a number of specific recommendations for providing culturally sensitive PTG treatment for working with African American men who have experienced race-based trauma:
Evans, A. M., Hemmings, C., Burkhalter, C., & Lacy, V. (2016). Responding to race related trauma: Counseling and research recommendations to promote post-traumatic growth when counseling African American males. Journal of Counselor Preparation & Supervision, 8(1), 78- 103.
Staggers-Hakim, R. (2016). The nation’s unprotected children and the ghost of Mike Brown, or the impact of national police killings on the health and social development of African American boys. Journal of Human Behavior in The Social Environment, 26.