Monday, June 1, 2020

APA Condemns Racism, Police Brutality and Calls for End to Racial Inequities

APA has issued statements in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in police custody in Minneapolis, and the resulting civil unrest this past weekend as demonstrators across the nation protested police brutality and institutional racism. APA believes that all forms of racism and racial discrimination affect mental health and well-being and negatively impact the nation. APA has called on authorities in Minneapolis to prosecute the officer who caused George Floyd’s death, as well as the other officers involved, to the fullest extent of the law.

“The unrest playing out in cities across America is a reaction to the racism that has scarred this country for centuries and never been properly addressed,” said APA President Jeffrey Geller, M.D., M.P.H. “The demonstrations are a result of racism against Black people that has gone unchecked—and at times has been fostered by leaders of this country. APA will not stand for racism against Black Americans.”

“The horrific death of George Floyd has affected the mental well-being of everyone who has witnessed this senseless tragedy. When Americans are already suffering under the emotional toll of COVID-19, this blatant act of police brutality threatens to undermine the sense of stability of so many Americans,” Geller said.

“The civil unrest taking place in America is a call to action to all Americans to address the longstanding racial inequalities facing the Black community,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “Centuries of systemic and institutional racism toward Black Americans has led to decreased access to health care and multiple adverse health outcomes—as recently seen during the COVID-19 pandemic—in addition to anxiety and lower life expectancy. We need to fight racial inequalities and discrimination that are life-threatening to so many Black Americans. APA stands with the Black community and all those opposed to racism to protect and improve the lives of those who have experienced discrimination and the associated trauma.”

The APA Board of Trustees passed two policy statements in 2018 condemning acts of police brutality against Black males and racism.

“APA stresses that anyone who is suffering trauma because of the death of George Floyd, or the civil unrest ongoing in America or health inequalities to seek psychiatric treatment,” the release stated.

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “Study Exposes Mental Health Effects of Police Shootings on Black Communities.”


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