Clinical counselor weighs in on dealing with secondary traumatic stress during social media era

Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 10:00 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Trauma is a large term, that can be many different things.

Katelyn Arvin is a licensed professional clinical counselor and the clinical manager of behavioral health services at Baptist Health Richmond.

She said she has dealt with trauma in patients before, and one important step is validating their emotions.

“Any emotion anyone is feeling from a traumatic experience, they have the right to feel that, and that it is very valid. There’s a wide range from fear to anger, outrage, grief. It can look like many different things.” Arvin said.

She said trauma can be an acute situation that is one event, or it can be systemic, and seen more often like the tragedy of Tyre Nichols.

Arvin encouraged people to find a licensed professional that is inclusive to your healing journey.

“This specific incident is one horrible traumatizing loss of life that represents a much larger racial, systemic problem.” Arvin said. “Although, especially for black, indigenous, people of color, brown, non-white communities, that have experienced this, it is very retraumatizing.”

She said there is a balance between tuning into social media to stay informed, and also being intentional about the material and violence that is shared.

So, while the video continues to circulate, she says people who might feel overwhelmed or anxious can take steps to alleviate that trauma.

“A couple of concrete things we can do in the wake of this is to set limits on our social media, schedule times to tune in and stay aware, and then balancing awareness and self-care by tuning out.” Arvin said.

She wanted people to know that prioritizing mental health is important, and there is always professional help there for you.

“We work through that moment together and help them find a safe plan to move forward and get them connected to the resources they need for an ongoing basis.”

Arvin said if you ever feel you need help, you can call their outpatient behavioral health clinic at Baptist Health Richmond.