LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Race-based stressed is a real thing, according to psychologist Dr. Steven Kniffley. The free clinic he heads at Spalding University is staffed with people helping those who've needed services related to protesting and marching for justice.
People marching in protest are angry. They want justice for Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and an end to systemic racism. Dr. Kniffley says anger is part of the grieving process, and those participating in the demonstrations or watching at home should understand there's grief behind the anger, and racial trauma is ongoing.
"If we think about what that grief looks like, you know first there's isolation and denial, and then there's anger. I think that's what we're really seeing now is that people are really angry about the things that are going on and about the ways that folks have been impacted by systems that perpetuate racism and discrimination," Dr. Kniffley explains.
He emphasizes the importance of African Americans affirming and processing their identity and finding a space in which they can do so. That's what his clinic helps with.
"The difference between PTSD and other types of trauma is that racial trauma is ongoing. You will continue to experience it every day of your life. The stat right now is that 96% of African Americans report that daily experience of racism and discrimination and so even though we can help people to deal with trauma we also have to have the very honest expectation that they will continue to deal with it on a daily basis," he adds.
For an appointment at the Collective Care Center, call (502)792-7011.