Community Trauma: How the Events in Ferguson Touch Us All

Community Trauma: How the Events in Ferguson Touch Us All
photo: Debra Sweet, Creative Commons
photo: Debra Sweet, Creative Commons

I travelled to St. Louis to visit family this past weekend and stayed close to Ferguson. It is one thing to see the unrest and turmoil of the community on the television, and another thing to experience it first hand. Each person that I interacted with in the greater St. Louis area appeared to be wrestling with the shooting of Michael Brown.

There was an underlying sense of uncertainty, fear, frustration, and helplessness in the community from the trauma of the shooting.

Trauma is any event or circumstance that is experienced as physically or emotionally harmful or threatening. It can have lasting effects on a person’s overall well-being and ability to function effectively.

The Michael Brown shooting is not only traumatic for his grieving family but is also traumatic for the Ferguson community and the United States as whole. 

Trauma can change the way people see the world and can make people question their sense of safety. National traumatic events like this shooting can also bring up past trauma for each individual that can impact overall functioning as well.

People of all ages may be experiencing some type of reaction to the shooting as members of the larger community. One of the best ways to deal with an unexpected and tragic event like this is to talk to others. 

Communities that have a sense of open communication can begin a process of healing through connecting with others.

Talking about this traumatic event or other traumatic events in one’s past can allow the healing process to begin. Do not be afraid to reach out to others in your community including family, friends, a mental health professional, religious organizations, and schools if you feel like you need help to make sense of Michael Brown’s death.


Laura Lebovitz


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