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Historical Trauma: How Past Generations Impact Our Mental Well-Being

In our journey through life, we carry our experiences and echoes of our ancestors’ struggles and triumphs. Historical trauma, also called intergenerational trauma, refers to the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding over an individual’s lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma experiences.

Examples include the following but can consist of any groups who have faced systemic oppression and violence.

Some individuals may not be affected by the historical trauma, yet others might suffer from diminished physical and mental well-being. People who suffer from historical trauma can experience issues like:

The Science Behind Historical Trauma

Research suggests that traumatic experiences can alter an individual’s DNA — a phenomenon known as epigenetic inheritance. It means that the descendants of those who have faced significant trauma may be born with a predisposition to stress or anxiety, even if they haven’t experienced the trauma firsthand.

Addressing the Impact of Historical Trauma

Understanding and addressing historical trauma is crucial for healing and mental well-being. Here are some strategies that can help:

Count on RADIAS Health

RADIAS Health provides person-centered integrated healthcare services to people experiencing mental illness, substance use, or co-occurring disorders. Compassionate, skilled health care and support staff deliver our behavioral health services. In addition, our care includes supplementary services such as case management, supportive housing, homeless services, residential services, outpatient DBT treatment, and more.

If you or someone you know could benefit from our mission, contact us today or consider donating!

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