Police excessive use of force: Preventing trauma-induced stress and anxiety in the Black community, St. Louis, Mo.
Goal Statement: The goal of this portfolio is to increase awareness of mental health disparities in the Black community due to experiencing or witnessing police brutality.
Significant Findings: This brief explores issues of police excessive use of force during interactions with Blacks that result in trauma-induced stress and anxiety, whether witnessing or experiencing such brutality, for this marginalized population. In St. Louis, Missouri, Blacks who experience police use of force in person or “seeing a video of police use of force in the media” experience moderately high police contact anxiety (Murez, 2021, para. 7). The scope of the problem illuminates the connections between mental health stability and well-being in the Black community, with encounters between law enforcement. Risk factors at the individual (discrimination/somatic symptoms), relationship (mental health stigma), community, and societal levels significantly influence Blacks to negate mental health treatment and resources, further aggravating and increasing poor mental health within the community. The Black male is a target for police excessive use of force as this subgroup is criminalized and positioned as “missing” or invisible, “not present in their families and communities, or actively seeking healthcare services,” causing an impending gap in this subgroups role, in civic and social life (Gilbert & Ray, 2016, para. 6). The protective factors that mitigate the risk factors include employment and educational opportunities and building a solid family support system to hold each other accountable for overall well-being and to do away with the negative narratives around mental health care. The Black population will benefit from multicultural competent prevention strategies that address the scope and consequences of mental health disparities resulting from police excessive use of force.