It’s day seven of the Derek Chauvin trial, and for some, the ongoing testimony has become difficult to watch. The cell phone and body camera video have been viewed by millions. Now, as the trial plays out, we’ve learned more about the day George Floyd died almost a year ago. As people confess to feeling mentally and emotionally taxed, mental health experts say it’s critical to set boundaries.
Baqi Martin is the Licensed Clinical Social Worker Supervisor at Connections Wellness Group. He said the testimony, the video from that day and even images from the courtroom can be a trigger; especially for Black Americans.
“If we don’t get a resolution to it then the re-trauma is just as real as the initial event,” said Martin. “Nightmares and fears and worries, whether realistic or not, become validated because I can’t make sense of it.”
Martin said setting boundaries is important as the trial continues. An individual can acknowledge how significant the case is, and the impact the results will have without engaging daily by watching.
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“In this space, there’s also this level of generational trauma that comes through. This constant sense of lack of justice,” he said.
If you feel the need to watch, Martin said ask yourself whether you have the time and space to process what you’re watching. And take stock of people you can reach out to for additional clarity. Lastly, Martin said we shouldn’t underestimate the power of physical activity to release toxic energy.
“Are we finding different avenues to find clarity and give our bodies peace and turn off that alarm system?”
Martin said, ultimately, there is no shame in concluding the trial is simply too much to endure.
If you’re struggling to process this or other current events, there are resources available:
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741.