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Despite the Psychological Impact of Breonna Taylor’s Grand Jury Decision There is Still Hope


The lack of consequences for the police officers who shot and murdered Breonna Taylor six months ago have left many feeling unsettled, grieving a ruling that has impacted not only those in Kentucky but everyone who has been involved nationally in this fight for justice. I was featured in a recent article on KYW & MSN covering the psychological impact of Breonna Taylor’s ruling on the public.

Between the murder of George Floyd and the protests it sparked this Summer to the anxiety of the pandemic these past few months, this disheartening news is leaving people feeling even more on edge and hopeless. The following are ways you can channel all the negativity that has come from this recent news and remain hopeful for the prospect of positive change in the future. 

Express Feelings of Unsafety vs Bottling It Up

Safety is crucial to a person’s psychological well-being. When thinking of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, before you can get to purpose and living your life to the fullest, one of the foundational elements is safety. Safety is only one step above the basic needs required to survive like food and water. For members of the Black community especially, this ruling has once again awakened an overwhelming sense of disappointment and fear living in the United States as a Person of Color.

It leads to questioning who is next and could it possibly be your life in jeopardy in the future. If people are not releasing these anxious and oppressive feelings, bottling them up and allowing them to fester, it heightens the chance of easily reaching places of intense anger, shutdown or getting overwhelmed. Talk to a trusted loved one or impartial therapist about these feelings and work through them in a healthy manner. 

Practice Self Care

Through times of stress it is crucial to enact forms of self care. This can be done through activities like exercise, meditation, or conversations with a loved one. It can be easy to get low having to suffer through 2020’s seemingly endless cycle of anxiety inducing and depressing news, but if you completely cave into that negative state of mind your health will suffer mentally and physically.

Emotional hardships can make it hard to get out of bed in the morning or do simple tasks like maintaining one’s hygiene. Making sure to take care of the body through exercise and eating right, along with journaling or meditating for your mental health, can keep you on the track towards positivity during trying times.

Allyship

Photo by Eric Yeich from Pexels

The article I was featured in also addresses, that there is a large emphasis on Black pain when these kinds of losses rock society versus what work White people should be putting in who aspire to be allies. Allyship revolves around members of privileged or dominant social groups emphasizing social justice and inclusion to aid in furthering the interests of oppressed groups.

While self care and open communication about emotions are essential during this time for members of the Black community, discussing how White people can show up and be part of the fight towards justice and equality is just as necessary. What happened to Breonna Taylor, and continues to happen to Black people in this country, will continue to occur if everyone is not held accountable and ready to take action. 

Dr. George James (@GeorgeTalks), Chief Innovation Officer, Senior Staff Therapist & Supervisor at Council for Relationships, Assistant Professor for the Couple and Family Therapy Program at Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of George Talks LLC.

Jamie McClelland, is a senior at Villanova University, double majoring in English and Communications with a specialization in media production.

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