National unrest impacting mental health of black community, experts say

From Ahmaud Arbery to Breonna Taylor to George Floyd, Licensed Professional Counselor Shaketa Robinson-Bruce believes the emotions many people are feeling right now is collective trauma.

She said many of her clients feel "helplessness, detached, numb, desensitized. Some feel rage, some feel grief."

Based out Atlanta, Robinson-Bruce works with mostly black female clients.

"People from marginalized communities, who have a history of being opposed, abused, can experience these things," she explained.

Floyd's death led to massive protests around the country focusing mostly on racial inequality and police brutality.

Several therapists and counselors we spoke with Thursday said their clients' mental health has been a major concern this week.

"A lot of them feel like it's different this time," Licensed Clinical Social Worker Moniek Richardson explained. "A lot of them feel they are more emotional this time."

Richardson said people are also fearing what's ahead.

"They're trying to figure out how to handle the moment but also what to do as we progress through this," she detailed.

Whether you are in therapy or not, if you’re feeling the emotions Robinson-Bruce described, the women say you must work through them.

"I encourage mental breaks. So take the time to disconnect, regroup yourself, maybe do something completely different," Richardson explained.

Robinson-Bruce said find coping mechanisms "that's gonna help you feel calm, relaxed, uplifted in a joyous way."

They said not taking care of your mental health could lead to more serious problems.

"It could eventually manifest into physical conditions like high blood pressure or some physical ailment. It can manifest in anger," Robinson-Bruce said.

You can reach out to her here, and Richardson here.