Graphic depictions of the deadly Capitol insurrection of January 6 triggered fresh waves of trauma for many politicians, staffers, and viewers across the country yesterday as senators began a historic second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
The 13-minute video that opened the trial showed visceral scenes of violent rioters breaking into the building as lawmakers and others frantically sought shelter. “This is a difficult video to watch,” tweeted Representative Mike Quigley, Democrat of Illinois. Five people died during the storming of the Capitol, and two police officers who defended the building have since died by suicide.
But for Northeastern faculty who work in mental health as well as other trauma survivors, the ensuing public discussions about post traumatic stress disorder and vicarious trauma present a small silver lining.
“This has been a moment of stigma reduction,” says Alisa Lincoln, professor of sociology and health sciences. “When people can see and understand the causes of trauma, there is a lot less stigma.”