The outcome of the highly sensitive trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd can cause many different emotions for people. Last May, Floyd’s death sparked a societal reckoning that prompted protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Demonstrations also took place following the jury’s decision on April 20. How can adults cope with their emotions following the verdict as well as help their children cope?
Johns Hopkins Medicine experts say it’s normal for some people to have intense reactions to emotionally charged events, especially when they have broad social and political impacts. To cope, they recommend people give themselves time to process and make space for their emotions, even if they are intense or seemingly conflicting at times. They also recommend speaking with like-minded friends or family members, as it may help them work through these experiences. No matter your feelings, it’s important to remember you are not alone.
When it comes to children, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center experts suggest having open conversations with them about the trial and their feelings. They also recommend limiting exposure to news media depicting violence, particularly racial violence. If children are exposed to violent images, check in with them and ask how they feel about what they saw. Also, continue to check in periodically and provide room for them to process what they saw.
The following Johns Hopkins Medicine experts are available for interviews on how adults and children can deal with their emotions following the verdict and demonstrations as well as feelings of racial injustice:
Neda Gould, Ph.D. Associate Director, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Anxiety Disorders Clinic Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Carisa Parrish, Ph.D. Co-director of pediatric medical psychology, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Andrea Young, Ph.D. Child Psychologist, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine