Bernita: Trauma, Depression & Being There For Everyone

What I started to write about

I wanted to write this as a Black History Month Trauma Article but I couldn’t. I wanted to set apart the differences between how black kids are supported during times of trauma and kids of other colors. I wanted to tell about the disparities and disproportionate support systems offered at schools that support black and brown kids as opposed to more affluent schools but I couldn’t.

So I Write

I write about the fact that trauma is so real and telling any child to just get over it risks their and their peers’ lives. I write to say that I’ve sat in rooms with brown and black, white and other color kids who just want the hurt to stop. They want someone to tell them how to make it stop.

I’ve seen so many of them cut skin that ranges in all colors. I’ve known and read of parents of all colors who’ve reached out for help to no avail.

People tell stories of “I knew something was different with them” after a life was lost. Color didn’t matter when the casket was closed and flowers plucked as mementos of the ones who showed signs.

The blame?

Who gets the blame?

Blame is a strong word but then again, is it?

Someone has to see that youth are hurting and STOP. Stop and Ask, Keep Them Safe, Be There, Help Them Connect and Follow Up.

These are five simple steps that take willingness but dedication to the entire process.

  1. Ask a child are they okay, what’s up, what do they need from you or anyone else?
  2. Keep them safe when they show signs of not just suicidal thoughts but signs of any odd behavior.
  3. Be there to let them know someone is available. I know you are not a psychologist but just being there helps so many. Don’t think you have their answers? Just be there.
  4. Help them connect to programs or other people who can help. Sometimes it’s finding out what makes them happy and connecting them to resources. Like Art Therapy, support groups, mental health professionals.
  5. Follow Up to show them that you weren’t just there for a brief moment. Call them, send a note, a hug, go to a group meeting with them. Help them make accountability plans that can help them get help when they need it.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: I will add a last one; You reach out if you need help. There are so many friends who will help you; youth and adults who will really be there.

So I decided not to just write this about brown and black trauma. We need everyone to be mentally healthy.

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