Orlando Triplett said the symptoms appeared gradually over the course of the Presidential campaign. Sleeplessness, irritability, and occasional anxiety that made him want to stay indoors. As a college sophomore at Howard University, Triplett had experienced similar physical symptoms around final exams, but always bounced back once testing ended.
With the Donald Trump’s victory and the subsequent naming of what he termed “angry, White men,” in key political positions, Triplett’s symptoms grew into a full-scale depression and generalized anxiety. But, he is not alone.
Since Trump’s presidential victory mental health professionals have witnessed an uptick in patients seeking counseling for depression and anxiety-related disorders. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)
“I am afraid and it’s not just because Trump was elected, because he made his opinions and impressions of Blacks, gays, immigrants, and women pretty clear. I am afraid of the White people standing next to me who laughed at the possibility of him being elected, then pulled the lever in his favor,” Triplett told the AFRO. “I don’t trust White Americans to not all be closeted and dangerous racists and homophobes.”
Since Trump was named president-elect by earning the projected majority of U.S. Electoral College votes, mental health professionals across the country have witnessed an uptick in patients seeking counseling for depression and anxiety-related disorders, as well as prescriptions for sleep aids.
Kimberly Grocher, a Black psychotherapist in New York, told Slate magazine that Trump-induced political distress is real and mimics the feelings many had following the 9/11 attacks. “It’s really pervasive, and it’s really come into the treatment room. Usually it’s combined with other anxiety triggers that they may be having, and it can cause sleeplessness, restlessness, feeling powerless. It can lead to feelings of depression,” Grocher said. “For the minorities who I see, and even the Caucasians who I see, has been very closely tied to the election. It’s about, ‘What’s going to happen in my community if this person is in office?’”
According to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for LGBT youth, many Americans face genuine feelings of grief and bereavement in response to the election, including depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and even physical symptoms. Steve Mendelsohn, a spokesperson for the hotline said they have received twice as many calls in the immediate wake of the election directly related to “fear and anxiety around the election results.”
The result of these election-related fears and anxieties, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the development of maladaptive behaviors, including binge eating, skipping exercise, staring at screens, and general avoidance of normal responsibilities.
Farha Abbasi, a staff psychiatrist at Michigan State University and managing editor of the Journal of Muslim Mental Health said that marginalized groups, including many the Muslim-Americans, immigrants, minorities, and women targeted by Trump, may feel particularly vulnerable with his victory.