Five Things You Should Know About Urban Trauma

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The community where a person lives and/or grew up can have a strong impact on them.

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I have lived in the urban setting all my life. I grew up where many people dwelled around poverty, mischief, abuse, happiness, contentment, uncertainty, and large crowds. Anything could and did happen. All parts of the city were busy and constantly evolving. There continues to be and, in some communities, increased urban trauma experienced by the masses. What used to be infrequent is now a norm.

Children are victims and witnesses of community and family violence. The opioid crises and overdose on street drugs are increasing at such an alarming rate that we have declared it an epidemic and public health crisis. More adolescents living in large cities are demonstrating signs and symptoms of mental health issues and mental illness.

The family structure is dissipating as members are unable to cope with tragic family secrets and find resolutions to their problems. So what is Urban Trauma? All of the aforementioned! Trauma is acute or chronic recurrent exposure to an intense stressor(s) that impacts you mentally and/or physically.

Here are 5 things you should know about the impact of trauma:

Trauma experienced in childhood and adolescence can significantly impact the development of the brain.

This can include but is not limited to insomnia, flashbacks, inability to concentrate, and increased suppression of memories associated with the event. Children may display lack of comprehension and attention in school, inability to form healthy peer relationships and boundaries, and/or decreased initiative to make appropriate decisions.

Exposure to trauma can exacerbate mental health issues.

Short and long-term mental health issues of unaddressed exposure to trauma perpetuates major depression symptoms, increased risk of

frequent anxiety and panic attacks, and significant presentation of dissociation- the process when one mentally attempts to escape the reality of the trauma ever occurring.

Increased substance use and abuse have been strongly connected to coping with traumatic experiences.

A person may find comfort in drugs that they feel allows them to “escape” the pain, memories, and even people associated with the trauma. Substances can range from alcohol and marijuana to opioids or cocaine.

Trauma memories never go away.

No matter how we want to forget it ever happened, the details of the event- people, places, and things, it becomes a part of our lives. The trauma experiences position us to become a survivor of the circumstance.

Healing is always possible when you experience trauma.

Trauma impacts all humans and it is an event that causes mental and physical reactions in the body. It must be addressed. Help must be obtained. Support must be available. Communities must have resources.

If you have experienced trauma and you feel your life has been mentally and physically affected, please seek help immediately. Individual counseling and support groups may help. Give yourself time to allow the process to work. Your journey to healing is life-long so be patient, stay connected, and believe that you are a survivor.

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