"A collective trauma is a traumatic psychological experience shared by a large group of people that can include an entire society. These collective traumas can afflict large cultural groups, and some examples of this include the trauma of slavery in the United States, the Nazi Holocaust, and genocide of Native Americans.Traumatization from these experiences is passed down as a cultural trauma, and this is slow to heal when aspects of the trauma are ongoing in the form of oppression and discrimination. It is important for all medical professionals to understand the potential of collective traumas to cause or exacerbate mental health problems in afflicted groups. This should be a required facet of mental health training, both in the classroom and clinic, and also a part of coursework in social determinants of health."
-Monnica T. Williams, Ph.D., ABPP
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Associate Professor
University of Ottawa, School of Psychology