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Understanding How Violent Images Can Lead to TraumaBetween mass media, social media, and the events happening in our world today, we are being exposed to more violent images than ever before — they are all around us. Without completely disconnecting, it’s hard to avoid the constant barrage of bad news. Protests are also happening across the country.

The protest videos show rubber bullets being shot, tear gas being thrown, cruisers driving into crowds, protestors being thrown to the ground, and worse. By driving cruisers into crowds. By understanding how traumatizing it might be to view these images, you can tell yourself when it’s best to step away in order to take care of your mental health.

Images of Racism and Violence Reinforce Existing Trauma

When images and videos depict constant violence, with people being shot or brutalized by the police, people with a past history of trauma may start to think “it could have been me” — and if not them, someone they love. Even if a person has not experienced police brutality or gun violence before, they can still feel a sense of trauma after seeing these images.

It’s almost like seeing a movie of loss — you may not have dealt with that type of loss yourself, but you still feel a powerful connection to what you’re seeing on screen. You may begin to wonder if you or your loved ones could be next, which makes you feel scared and helpless.

Lasting Effects of Image-Based Trauma

Consistent unaddressed trauma can increase the risks of severe health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Too much stress-related cortisol released often leads to your body’s system going out of control, which can impact your blood pressure, memory formation, blood sugar, and even how your future offspring handles trauma. If you are currently dealing with trauma as a result of viewing these images, it’s best to stop.

Watching one video already gives you an idea of what is happening in the world, and watching more and more of them will likely make you even more depressed. If you are working with a therapist or other mental health professional, speak to them about what you saw and how you can move forward.

As terrifying and disturbing as today’s news footage is, it can teach you just how unfair the world can be. Consider taking what you saw, putting your thoughts into action, and doing something in your community to fight racial injustice. That way, we can all heal together.

Images of violence and police brutality imagery are affecting the lives of many Americans today, but The Guest House can teach you how to overcome them. We offer high-quality residential treatment programs for men and women who are experiencing trauma symptoms. Using individualized and group therapy, mindfulness exercises, art therapy, cinema therapy, equine therapy, and more, The Guest House will help you heal. We are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To learn more, call us now at (855) 483-7800.