Thursday, January 7, 2021

APA Condemns Violent Attack on U.S. Capitol, Warns of Long-Term Effects of Recurring Trauma

APA today condemned the violent action of a pro-Trump mob who on Wednesday stormed the halls of Capitol, forcing the evacuation of both chambers of Congress during the ceremonial reading of the electoral college votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

“Yesterday’s violence and the rhetoric that incited it are seditious,” said APA President Jeffrey Geller, M.D., M.P.H., in a statement that called attention to the stark contrast between the government’s strongarm response to Black Lives Matter protesters this summer and fall and the response yesterday as predominantly white rioters broke down barricades, smashed windows, and clashed with police.

“Americans are hurting in the pandemic, and this makes the pain, fear, and stress that many of us are feeling much worse. Those who have been subject to the impacts of systemic racism are dealing with the brunt of it.”

The recurring trauma of violence, racism, and reports that thousands of Americans continue to die from COVID-19 each day can lead to heightened anxiety and long-term health effects. If you or a family member or friend needs immediate assistance, help is available:

“We, as psychiatrists, are deeply concerned and angered by the violence that has occurred and that may continue in our communities,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “If you are feeling anxious or unsafe, talk with your family and friends. If your feelings continue and it is impacting your daily life, do not hesitate to seek help through your primary care provider, a psychiatrist or other mental health professional, or other resources in your community.”

For related information and additional resources on supporting adults and children following traumatic events, see the APA page “Coping After Disaster.”

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