Twitter Chat: Coping with black trauma in the age of viral videos (Recap)

How can people of color cope with the psychological trauma that comes from frequent exposure to graphic videos of police killings? Is self-care and logging off vital for mental health?

After publishing the blog post, When black death goes viral, it can trigger PTSD-like trauma, we received an outpouring of responses. Some readers offered their personal experiences of depression, anxiety and feelings of hopeless from watching viral videos of the often-graphic final moments of people of color. Many had questions about how they can balance checking out from the grief while staying tuned in to issues of social justice.

On Thursday, the PBS NewsHour  hosted a Twitter chat on the effects of repeated exposure to graphic viral videos. We were joined by Dr. Monnica Williams (@DrMonnica), associate professor at the University of Connecticut as well as director of the Laboratory for Culture and Mental Health Disparities and activist, educator and co-founder of Campaign Zero, Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti). April Reign (@ReignofApril), activist and managing editor of Broadway Black also took part in the discussion. Reign is best known for creating the viral hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, and offered her commentary to the Washington Post on why she refuses to share viral videos of police killings.

The PBS NewsHour also chatted with Vlogger Evelyn Ngugi (@EVEEEEEZY) whose viral video, Call in Black, highlights the mental fatigue of viewing graphic killings, as well as Reggie Cunningham, activist and creator of Pure Black apparel. The conversation was moderated by me (@LiveFromKenya), NewHour’s digital reporter for Race Matters.

Check out our recap below.