Trauma is defined as an event that causes severe psychological and bodily distress. Trauma is a common experience for African American kids. Traumas can have long-lasting consequences on the lives of their victims. This is well known. Horowitz (1989) defines trauma as an event that causes a person to be overwhelmed by their ability to react. The DSM-5 defines trauma as “exposure to serious harm, sexual assault or threat of death”. (American Psychiatric Association (2013) There are many factors that can cause trauma. African Americans experience unique trauma experiences that are not shared with whites and Asians. Trauma can be caused by emotionally or physically damaging events. A few traumatic events like the death of a close friend can disrupt normal emotional functioning. Others, such accidents or natural disasters, may cause damage to the physical function of the body. Violent conduct, however, is any intentional, non-essential and unwelcomed, damaging behavior. You can find many types of violence: domestic violence; gender-based violence; sexual violence and gang violence. Certain types of violence can be more dangerous and deadly than others. The World Health Organization states that violence is a global public health problem and should be addressed. Its financial consequences can reach into the billions. Long-term traumas can have a negative impact on the development and functioning of the child/person affected. Numerous children recall one traumatizing event while others may have experienced multiple. Certain cultural, ethnic and racial groups have higher trauma rates than the general population. For example, African Americans are more likely to experience stressful events than whites.
A variety of natural disasters have struck in recent years, with severe consequences for some people and significant mental and physical stress on others. The most recent global catastrophe that has caused widespread trauma is Hurricane Laura. There are many factors that can affect mental health. Some individuals may not experience mental problems after a disaster, others develop it later on due to traumatizing events, or exposure to violence. According to psychodynamic theory, our adult lives and personalities are determined by our early experiences (Colarusso & Nemiroff, 2013).