Police violence against black Americans, mental health


Police-related mortality rates are disproportionately higher among Black populations than among any other racial group in the United States. While official data on non-fatal encounters with police is lacking, current evidence suggests these encounters are more common among Black individuals and often result in signs of immediate psychological and physical damage, as well as triggering long-lasting physiological stress responses and psychological trauma among these individuals and their communities. The aim of this literature review is to assess if police interactions are associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes among Black Americans. Using scholarly electronic databases, 13 articles were analyzed and generally indicated higher prevalence of poor health among individuals who experienced negative interactions with police; these numbers were shown to be substantially higher among populations of Black Americans. Although more official and reliable data is needed to further assess these results, the findings included in this review suggest a relevant association between police interactions and negative overall health outcomes among Black Americans. Changes to law enforcement policies and practices, as well as further research into the effects of police violence among Black American populations could reduce the potentially detrimental health outcomes of police interactions with these minority populations.