UConn Expert Dr. Wizdom Powell on the mental health impact of Chauvin trial

UConn Expert Dr. Wizdom Powell on the mental health impact of Chauvin trial

April 21, 20212 min read

For weeks, Americans closely watched the trial of the police officer charged in the death of George Floyd last May, and as the jury's guilty verdict brings those proceedings to a close, the impact on communities across the country may be lasting.

Dr. Wizdom Powell, director of UConn's Health Disparities Institute Director, joined CBS This Morning to discuss the impact of the Chauvin trial on mental health, particularly among members of the Black community.

"The thing about racism, in general, is that it is a bio-social stressor. And incidents, like being in a courtroom and repeating the exposure to those eight minutes and forty-six seconds – and, now we know, nine minutes – of George Floyd’s demise can be triggering for everyone who is exposed to it. And so, there is a consequence of having that be replayed in an open court."
"I think that we all have had our breaths collectively stolen by the incidents of racial violence that we’re all baring witness to virtually and directly, for those who were actually on scene during the tragic event. So, I would say that, what you can do now, if you’re really wanting to rise up and meet Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in this moment, is to act in true allyship. Listen with a third ear. Accept the reality and truths of what people are experiencing, without requiring them to explain away or to offer additional context for what they are feeling. Believe people when they tell you they’re hurting the first time. That kind of response – legitimating the wounds that we are experiencing in this moment – can go a long way in promoting racial healing, unity, and restorative justice."

If you are a journalist looking to discuss this issue or cover this very important topic – then let us help.

An associate professor of psychiatry at UConn Health, Dr. Powell is an expert on the role of racism and gender norms in African American male health and healthcare inequities. Dr. Powell is available to speak with media about this topic – simply click on her icon now to arrange an interview today.

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