Posted on April 5, 2021

Mental Health Experts Warn Derek Chauvin Trial May Revive Feelings of Racial Trauma

Mishal Reja, ABC News, April 1, 2021

As the Derek Chauvin trial is nationally televised and livestreamed this week, Americans have once again been exposed to the May 2020 video of the former police officer driving his knee into George Floyd’s neck as he repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe,” in his dying moments.


“Revisiting the events connected to George Floyd’s death serve as a visual reminder of the devaluing of Black life and the potential costs associated with racism and discrimination,” said Steven Kniffley Jr., a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Spalding University’s School of Professional Psychology.

Research shows that repeated exposure to racism, such as watching the televised trial, is associated with a host of psychological consequences, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance-use disorders and suicide.

Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D., L.P., a clinical psychologist and executive director of the African American Child Wellness Institute, said rewatching the dramatic death of Floyd on television and social media can have devastating mental health impacts, a phenomenon called vicarious, or secondary, trauma.