Days of racial tension and protest across the country and in our area about policing can take a toll on mental well-being.

What You Need To Know

  • Carl Binger, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor says, current tensions can bring up trauma, anger
  • He says they can affect how you sleep, your diet, your mood, and your cognition
  • Binger adds that the frustrations of race and policing issues have impacted the black community the most

Carl Binger, a licensed mental health counselor says, "It's affected me personally as a Christian, as a black man, as a therapist, its affected me personally, so I know it’s affected other people as well."

Binger, who counsels in the Rochester area, says the current tension can bring up trauma, anger, fear and disappointment, or feelings of hopelessness.

Over the past few days, you may have noticed some of the following things happening to you.

Binger says, "It can affect how you sleep, it can affect your diet, it can affect your mood, and then it could affect your cognition, how you think, your thinking has slowed, your thinking is psychotic, it just affects everything."

The counselor added the frustrations of race and policing issues this past week have impacted the black community the most.

"It has a tremendous impact on black people and people of color because its historically a thing, its historically been a problem for people of color," says Binger. "I think a lot of people can feel like, their value as a person is looked down upon, a lot of black people can feel like we’re not valued as people."

Other communities have felt the pain and frustration as well.

Binger adds, "There are some white brothers and sisters who are impacted about this, and they're taking it bad too. They're sending texts, calling and saying, 'hey I’m sorry' how can I support you, how can I pray for you,'" says Binger.

The counselor tells Spectrum News the back-to-back instances of racial inequality and policing issues can also lead to the violence we saw over the weekend.

"When something like this happens and there's not a severe punishment handed out to the police officer, or there's several instances in a short period of time where this thing happens, it caused people to get really upset and feel like they have to take, because they feel unheard, they act out in this way."

Binger says those actions are a "cry for help," comparing it to a long term abusive relationship.

"You know if they keep getting abused and abused, their rights are being taking from them, they are being violated as a person, over time they're going to lash out in very unhealthy ways because they've been abused for so long and so I think that’s what we're seeing."

As for healthy coping mechanisms, Binger recommends weighing the pros and cons before acting out of anger.

He believes it's important for people with different views to understand the other side.

"The overarching message is to have a very well balanced view when it comes to these issues. I think we have to have a measure of love and support for each other. This is a great opportunity to come together, to hear each other out, to love together."

He also recommends journaling, unplugging from current events, talking to family members, friends, or reaching out to a therapist.