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Police killings are a mental health crisis for Black people

Woman with depression

Dr. David Stuart Curtis, a social scientist and an assistant professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah, didn't set out to provide solutions as a co-author of the new study, he believes some measures could alleviate the mental health toll that Black people may experience in the wake of a police killing. 

Acknowledging that their mental health may be harmed by high-profile incidents of racial violence is important. That recognition, however, must also lead to changes in our public discussion of such events so that it reflects the communal grieving that takes place and effectively reduces the compounding stress of racist dialogue and politically controversial hot takes, Curtis says. Imagine, for example, taking the legacy and institutional nature of anti-Black violence seriously instead of routinely blaming victims of deadly force for non-compliance. 

"I don't know how we facilitate a gentle, more truthful dialogue, but that's part of it," says Curtis, who studies community influences on health. 

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Last Updated: 4/28/21