Brinly Johnson

The different faces of students at Taylorsville High

Brinly Johnson, Editor

Anything and everything about you has been passed down. The color of your eyes, the shape of your nose, even the shade of your hair. Along with all the wonderful things that get passed down to you, trauma accompanies it. Generational trauma, formally known as Transgenerational trauma, is defined as trauma that passes down from one generation to the other. Generational Trauma could affect the way people raise children, react to situations, and how they go about with everyday life. 

When studying a group of children in 1966, A Canadian psychiatrist Vivian M Rakoff M.D, found high rates of psychological distress among Holocaust survivors. This study started the concept of transgenerational trauma. A study done in 1988, found grandchildren of Holocaust survivors were highly referred for psychiatric care. The commonly diagnosed illnesses were anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. While these children themselves did not suffer through the Holocaust, the trauma of their ancestors affected their genetic code. 

When looking at a family suffering from Transgenerational trauma, the family might seem emotionally numb, view emotions as weaknesses, and maybe overly protective of their children. Looking back in history, many groups could be affected; Indigenous families, Nine- Eleven survivors, descendants of slaves, and children who have suffered from abuse and neglect. While there is no specific diagnosis for generational trauma, it shows through emotional outbursts, high anxiety, and stress. 

To prove how common Generational Trauma is, I sent out a Google forum to the students of Taylorsville. The two most common traumas that affected students or their parents the most are 9/11 and COVID-19. When asked if their parent’s traumas affected their day-to-day life, over 50% of them said yes. 

Through all the emotional stress, shouldn’t there be a way to ease the pain? While researchers continue to look for a way to end the vicious cycle of trauma, there are only so many ways to ease the pain. One of the most effective ways is through therapy. There are so many different options in the state of Utah. We have SAFE UT and a school psychiatrist in Taylorsville High School. Speaking about what hurts you takes a bit of the load off your shoulders. Group therapy with other members of your family can also help you understand them. Therapy can be a safe space to let loose and understand it’s not a problem you created but were born into.