Should I watch Nichols’ photo video? Advice from a trauma expert
As America prepares to release the video tonight of Memphis police killing Tyre Nichols, people should reflect on the shock of witnessing the disturbing video and the potential lasting effects.
What is the effect of watching graphic videos of real-life violence?
Dr.. Amanda J. CalhounAdults and teens, especially black people, should think carefully before using videos of police violence, says an expert in the psychological impact of trauma.
What should you prepare to see in Tyre Nichols body cam footage?
Memphis officials will release video footage after 6 p.m. today that shows five police officers beating Nichols to death. Nicole’s stepfather warned that the video contained “appalling content”.
Noted civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump described the video as a “shameless, nonstop beating” of three minutes.
This morning, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn CJ Davis warned that the videotape showing officers striking Nichols is “probably worse” than the footage showing Rodney King being beaten by the LAPD 30 years ago.
Calhoun told Knox News “I’m fully in favor of using body cam footage as evidence and I think it’s important that it’s available. But I have a lot of concerns about these videos being circulated for further sensitization that I think American society has to kill black people.”
Should you watch Nichols’ photo video?
Watching police brutality videos, especially if you’re black, Calhoun says, can trigger mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
“It’s actually well documented that black people are more likely than white people to experience these negative mental effects from the highly publicized police killings of black people. It can actually cause mental health to deteriorate for days,” Calhoun told Knox News.
“For those who are considering watching this video, I think they should be aware that it may cause symptoms in them some days. And not just sadness, but things like irritability, which is another symptom of depression. That’s okay. People especially black people don’t. They watch this video.
“I want people to think about the fact that while this is true, there is a real problem with the fact that we only see black people killing so much graphically. There is a desensitization to black people dying. I think if you feel drawn to watch the video because you feel like you want to see it With your own eyes, to experience vicariously what this man went through, it’s okay to watch, but you must realize what can come of that.”
Should children watch the video?
“I think it depends on the child, what the child wants to do, and what you think your child can handle,” Calhoun said. “Kids might learn about this at school. These conversations are running all over social media.
“And so for parents, especially black parents, I would say start by having a conversation with your child. Ask them if they’ve already heard about it. It’s very important to know if your child has heard about it. With the presence of social media, it can It can be challenging, as teens and kids are exposed to things very quickly and immediately without much preparation.
“If your child has a history of being so affected by this that it limits their functioning, such as having difficulty going to school or coming home, I would probably caution parents against considering having a conversation with their child. You don’t have to watch this video, give them permission not to watch it. Maybe. You wait to watch it, or maybe you don’t watch it at all.I think giving adults and children the power to choose is a good thing.
“If your child really pushes you to watch it, I encourage parents to watch it with them.”
What are the short and long term psychological effects of watching these types of videos?
“I think for non-Black people, it may lead to a desensitization of the Black Death and a continuing indifference and coldness to the killing of Black people,” Calhoun said.
“I would say to black people it can have a ripple effect. To watch these videos over and over again as a black person you are at a higher risk of this happening to you in your life, it can lead to long term symptoms.
“For many people, after watching the video, they may feel angry or sad and then these symptoms go away, but for some people, they may watch the video and find it difficult to go to work or complete certain tasks while still having symptoms.
“These constant videos are very likely to trigger long-term mental health issues such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders. There are also symptoms that people don’t always think about as a result of race trauma, which can be disrupted in eating patterns, alcohol, and drug use.”
“If you find you’re having trouble in any of these areas, we need to get people to look for a mental health professional.
“I think we really need more research as well as the effects this is having on the black community. I think we are going to see a long-term effect and we need to track it and help develop targeted interventions.”
What are some best practices for managing emotions and feelings around videos and images of police brutality?
“Check out your feelings,” Calhoun said, “and give yourself space to feel them. Don’t avoid them or pretend they don’t exist.” Whether you’re angry or sad, allow yourself to have that space to feel it.
“Also think about things that give you relief and enjoyment, like going for a walk or watching a silly movie that you really love with a friend or family member. Reading a book, calling a friend, just kind of thinking are some rewarding and positive activities you can do.
“I tell patients to make a list of things that are comfortable so that when they’re actually comfortable, they can pick one and do it.
“Eating healthy nutritious foods, getting some fresh air and sunshine, taking vitamins, all of these things are really important.
“As busy individuals, our bodies can keep running, so just remember that your body and mind need to recharge. Sometimes you don’t need to do anything productive at all and just rest, and that’s okay too.”
Angela Dennis is Knox News’ social justice, race and equity correspondent. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 865-407-9712. Follow her on Twitter @AngeladWrites. Instagram @angeladenniswrites; and Facebook at Angela Dennis Journalist.