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Generational Trauma and Mental Health

Written By: Tor White

Published By: RallyUp Magazine


Generational trauma can be a very touchy topic. The effects that this type of trauma

has are passed down from generation to generation in a very discreet manner. Some

families may not even know when it is taking place. Generational trauma may explain many of the social conditions that exist in our society today. Generational trauma is prevalent in BIPOC families and communities. Are we aware of how it may be affecting our mental health? What does generational trauma actually look like?

What Generational Trauma Looks Like?

Generational trauma is still being studied and explored but what is factual is that it

does exist, and it may be taking place as we speak. Generational trauma is also called

intergenerational trauma. It is trauma that has been experienced from one generation and passed down to the next. It can be very subtle in transmission and

adverse effects on children and grandchildren. Trauma can also affect genetic stress can be considered trauma and it can have adverse effects on children and grandchildren. Trauma can also affect genetic processes. Situations such as being systematically exploited (racism, low paying jobs, less than acceptable access to education), enduring repeated abuse and even poverty can cause generational trauma. BIPOC are particularly vulnerable to generational trauma especially those who are\here from other countries and may have come to seek asylum in hope of a better and safer life. Domestic violence, sexual abuse and sexual assault can also result in generational trauma along with hate crimes. There are so many things that can qualify as generational trauma and be passed down from one generation to another.

General Trauma and Mental Health

Generational trauma can show up in many different ways in someone. It can look

like mistrust, anxiety, depression, hyper vigilance, insomnia, pain attacks as well as

come in the form of self-esteem and self-confidence issues. There are also subtle ways in which generational trauma can present itself and affect our mental health. Learned beliefs, behaviors and patterns that become part of us is also marked as generational trauma. In these instances, relationships, personalities, world views, communication and even parenting styles can be considered generational trauma. A popular recurring example of generational trauma is incest. It often prevails when family members become accepting of the act and pretend as if it doesn’t exist or is not happening. Because of this behavior, it gets passed on to other generations and the trauma continues.


A safe place to begin in combatting generational trauma is to acknowledge that it

exists within your family and move on from there. There are support groups and

individual psychologists and counselors who can help too.

The health care system, education system, spiritual connections and other

community resources out there can also lend a helping hand. Generational trauma,

however, is not something that can be combatted overnight. It may take years to see

any progress, but what is necessary is to start the reverse or elimination process.

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