Yesterday was an ugly day for America. When rioters breached the Capitol waving Confederate flags, Nazi propaganda and other racist symbols, they elicited trauma in Americans, especially in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities. This violent display of structural racism and white supremacy in the country stood in stark contrast to the protests for the civil rights and safety of BIPOC communities. Yesterday’s events underscore the institutional racism that has caused pain in America for centuries, highlighting deep inequities in our systems and structures that degrade the mental health of Americans and the fabric of our society, and can no longer be ignored or dismissed.
Racism creates trauma. Trauma is a devastating emotional response to brutally painful experiences that threaten safety. Prolonged exposure to systemic racism, whether through violent incidents or micro aggressions, contributes to chronic stress and other risk factors that worsen mental health. Simply put, the impact of racial trauma wears people down and makes them more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, suicide, physical and mental illness.
Crisis Text Line aims to create a compassionate world by ensuring each and every person, inclusive of race and individual experience, can access the support, connections and resources they need for mental well-being and resilience. Crisis Text Line is at the beginning of our journey to establish greater racial equity in mental health care. We know there is a long road ahead. Given the clear connection between racial trauma and mental health, working with BIPOC communities and allies to improve mental health outcomes is central to achieving Crisis Text Line’s mission.
We are living through this moment together.
If you’re feeling fear, sadness, grief, anxiety, or anything in between, your feelings are valid. You are not alone. Crisis Text Line is here to listen and offer support. The bravest thing you can do is to reach out for support. Text HOME to 741741 to reach a trained Crisis Counselor.