Coping with violence on social media

Images and videos can have an emotional impact

Over the last couple of weeks, unless you’ve been completely sucked into a Poke-hole, social media has bombarded you with images of violence. The videos of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, in particular, taken by eyewitnesses and uploaded to the Internet, offered graphic depictions of violence and death. While these videos may be valuable to some degree, they also can spark what’s referred to as vicarious or secondary trauma. It can cause nightmares, sleeplessness, fear and even self-harm. If you think you’re experiencing vicarious trauma because of images like these, here are some remedies:

• Avoid the trauma, if possible—if not, set boundaries on when and where you view it, talk about it or think about it.

• Destress through breathing exercises, getting outside.

• Practice self-care: Ensure you’re eating and sleeping well.

• Go out with friends.

• Seek the help of a counselor.