After Dyer Nichols’ Murder: How to Take Care of Your Mental Health in an Informed Way

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As the video of the brutal police beating of Dyer Nichols by Memphis police continues to circulate online, many are feeling a range of emotions, from anger and sadness to disappointment and fear. The tragic incident has sparked widespread outrage and calls for justice, with protests erupting in major cities across the US after bodycam and surveillance footage was released to the public by the Memphis Police Department.

While it’s important to stay informed and engaged on issues of police brutality and racial injustice, it’s also important to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from the emotional stress of consuming too much news and social media.

Nichols, 29, was brutally beaten by five Memphis police officers on Jan. 7 during a traffic stop(opens in new window), just minutes from his home where he stayed with his mother and stepfather. Nichols would die from his injuries three days later. Officers responsible for Nichols’ death Charges including second-degree murder, kidnapping and assault were dismissed and indicted.(opens in new window)

See also:
Why everyone needs to understand ‘race trauma’ now

Video of the bodycam footage taken by Memphis police on January 29 may seem inevitable online, and the debate surrounding the justification and condemnation of the police officers’ actions may be ubiquitous. While some feel it’s a duty to relive the protests and conversations surrounding Nichols’ death online, psychologists say the best approach for one’s mental health may be to set limits and not watch the video.

Social media limitations

To be honest, the discussion of Nicholas’ death is enough to make one physically ill. Whether due to the bold testimony of those closest to Nicholas, Loving father of a 4 year old boy(opens in new window)Or conservative news pundits accusing the victim—the dead man—of murdering himself, a story that makes Twitter and other social media apps so toxic right now.

In an article for Healthline(opens in new window)E., a professor at the Sue and Phil Cross School of Nursing at the University of California, Irvine. Alison Holman says, “Inundation with bad news can be problematic because it is associated with a greater likelihood of reporting severe depressive symptoms. .”

To keep balance in one’s social media scrolling, Holman recommends consuming news from reputable sources once or twice a day or turning off news altogether. Rather than constantly scrolling through your feeds, set a specific time each day to check for updates. Sites like Twitter and Instagram allow users to unfollow or unfollow accounts that cause stress. Even better, you can mute posts by keywords so nothing slips past the filter.

Tonya C., PhD, director of social work programs at Tulane University. Hansel agrees with Holman in the Healthline article that you should avoid consuming news before bed because it can cause anxiety and cause your stress-induced sleep problems. Anxiety is even worse. Hansel recommends avoiding news with sensational headlines and persevering through headlines to find important news worth reading rather than consuming everything you can find.

Avoiding racial trauma

For black Americans, Nichols’ killing is a tragic reminder of a systemic police brutality problem in the country. As the footage continues to circulate online, experts are urging black Americans to take care of their emotional well-being in the wake of the tragedy and ongoing protests across the country. It’s okay not to watch the video more specifically.

Dr. Monica Williams, a clinical psychologist and expert on racial trauma, law enforcement, and social trauma, He spoke with CNN(opens in new window) The black community claims to be outraged enough without searching their minds for graphic images.

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7 Skills to Cope with the Anger You’re Feeling Right Now

“We can read the description of events. We live in a violent culture, and presenting these clips as entertainment actually makes us more violent,” Williams told CNN. “You have to think about the impact this has on your humanity. I encourage it because I don’t. I don’t think it really honors the dead person.

Yolo Akili Robinson, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective, spoke with Mashable in 2021 After the murder of Dan Wright by the police, he saw restless nights and anger towards his friends and colleagues. “Police killings create a culture of shame, trauma and anxiety,” Robinson said.

“Murals and memorials dedicated to the victims are a daily reminder that those deaths were ‘never considered worthy of justice,'” he said.

According to the American Psychological Association(opens in new window) “Experiences of racism against people of color build upon each other and over time, eroding one’s emotional, physical, and spiritual resources.” As Mashable’s Rebecca Ruiz writes“Racial trauma, or racial stress, is decades old but has emerged as a prominent idea […] Since the death of George Floyd.” The symptoms are similar Post-traumatic stress disorder(opens in new window)Many suffer from hypervigilance, increased heart rate, high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, disturbed sleep and irritable bowel syndrome.

It’s important to note that black Americans (myself included) have the right to feel a full range of emotions in response to racial trauma and police brutality.

“To learn about and name racial trauma at this moment in American history is to understand that countless people of color have long been denied their basic dignity and human rights and, at the very least, have paid with their mental health,” Ruiz writes.

While addressing racial trauma is a complex and difficult task, there are things we can do here and now to protect ourselves as we deal with the fallout of yet another innocent black man’s death. It can start in small ways in your own life, like limiting social media and news consumption, or reaching out for support from a loved one or licensed professional, as mentioned earlier.

It’s important to take time to process our emotions, support our own emotional health, and come together as a community to support each other. As of this writing, Dyer Nichols’ family has created a GoFundMe(opens in new window) To raise funds for his memorial events. In addition, the fund provides mental health support for the Nichols family as they cope with the loss of their loved one. As of this writing, the fundraiser has surpassed its original $500,000 goal and donations continue to pour in.

If you are thinking about suicide or are experiencing a mental health crisis, please talk to someone. You can reach 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline in 988; Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860; or Trevor Plan at 866-488-7386. Text “START” to the emergency text line at 741-741. Contact the NAMI Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday through Friday 10:00 am – 10:00 pm ET, or email [email protected]. If you don’t like the phone, use the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline chat in new window). Here is one List of international resources(opens in new window).


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