How Minds and Mental Health are Influenced by Past Generations
Ask anybody, regardless of race or ethnicity, whether what happened in their family a long time ago, is still affecting them in some way today. Everyone can point to interactions from the past that continue to influence the present. You will find that many cousins do not know each other because one or both of their parents had a “falling out” a long time ago. You will find scandalous examples of relatives who were envious or lied about particular people, some resented for reasons rooted in half-truths rather than facts. And the patterns of chaos and conflict get repeated because many people never truly communicate to clear up misinformation and misunderstandings.
You will find patterns of domestic abuse repeated when people learned to handle anger by lashing out and blaming others. People who consider themselves immigrants to America will be less puzzled about why certain people were able to go to college or earn enough money to buy a house and car while other members of society got stuck in grinding generational poverty. You will have fewer questions about why certain people still behave like previous generations, such as what happens when racists pass on their ignorance, hate and hostility to their children.
There is no question that people from diverse backgrounds were impacted in different ways by historical events. No one is completely unaffected, distanced or detached from how they were raised related to racial norms and gender expectations passed across generations. To break the cycles of harm and dysfunction created by the lies of patriarchal white supremacy, one cannot take a passive approach. One must actively confront and challenge how one has been programmed to believe, think, feel and act on auto-pilot. #MentalHealthMatters.
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If you want to explore these issues in more depth, REGISTER NOW now for the anti-racism group “The Impact of Racism on Mental Health.” It will be held online April 4 from 12 to 3 pm central time. See details in the 1-pg. flyer to sign up. Deadline to register is April 2, 2020 by 12 noon.
With The Impact of Racism on Mental Health session being held in the midst of growing anxieties and related concerns people have about the current coronavirus crisis, we plan to integrate discussions about how mental health is affected by racism and how racism is related to most/many public health threats due to overlapping socioeconomic/societal issues. So these combined topics will fit together in exploring currently-scheduled content that is part of our ongoing series of monthly, anti-racism groups. We will be flexible about extending time if necessary, to offer additional support to group participants.
I am a trained psychotherapist (for mental health and alcohol and other drug abuse issues) since the early 1990s and worked for 10 years as a licensed provider or supervisor in health and human services agencies — both public and private. I am not currently in FT therapy practice. My primary focus is on educational trainings, special projects and social justice efforts. I will be the main presenter for The Impact of Racism on Mental Health. Guest speakers for the Saturday, April 4 session include Dr. Cynthia Alease Smith and Leslie Gregory as panelists, sharing their expertise related to the topic.