MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When it comes to mental health, it’s been a trying six months for everyone — especially for people of color.

WCCO spoke with St. Louis Park-based licensed clinical counselor and TikTok star Shani Tran, who explains how this year has changed her practice, and her perspective.

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From the start of a pandemic to the end of George Floyd’s life, it’s been a year of painful images and painful realizations.

“I’m realizing that trauma is so much more than we learned in school,” Tran said. “When COVID happened, I saw like an increase in people seeking services, and then when George Floyd happened, it was just like I had emails upon emails about people saying, ‘Hey, I just realized that I need to talk to someone.’”

Her schedule and waiting list are full, but she’s accessible to the world via TikTok, and she’s become quite popular. She uses the platform to talk about trauma, which she knows well as a Kenosha native and Minnesota resident.

“Trauma has to be rethought because it’s happening, and people don’t even know that it’s happening to them, especially Black people,” Tran said.

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And she says even though people of all races share in the pain of George Floyd’s death, it’s different for people who share his skin color.

“It’s easy to step back and say, ‘I’m sorry that happened to you,’ but it’s something if you see yourself in that person, as if you could have been that person that was shot, or your father could have been the person that was shot.”

She says amidst the pain, there is hope in uncomfortable conversations.

“Uncomfortable means that you are pushing through to a place where you are being human and authentic,” Tran said.

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Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield