Watching deadly encounters on social media could have negative emotional effects

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- Watching deadly encounters, like the George Floyd murder or Ma'Khia Bryant shooting, could have a negative effect on your mental health. Rhonda Gipson-Willis, a licensed therapist and life coach in South Bend, says to exercise caution when consuming such content. 

"We’re in jeopardy of being a nation of further traumatized people, said Gipson-Willis. "We don’t want to minimize the effects of what’s called secondary trauma or vicarious trauma, which is the trauma that you experience from watching other people’s trauma."

Gipson-Willis says it's important to take time to step away from social media when these incidents to keep from getting overwhelmed.

"It's ok to make it known that at this moment I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to deal with additional issues or have this conversation right now," said Gipson-Willis. "Really practice elements of self-care."

She also says that when possible, avoid directly viewing the deadly encounters. 

"I prefer to read narratives of what happened," said Gipson-Willis. "It allows you to have a bit of a disconnect that you wouldn’t otherwise have watching the video."

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