APA Condemns Police Brutality, Calls for Dialogue to Ease Civil Unrest

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 29, 2020 – The American Psychiatric Association (APA) today issued the following statements in response to the death this week of an unarmed Black man in police custody in Minneapolis and the resulting civil unrest.

“The APA condemns all acts of police brutality,” said APA President Jeffrey Geller, M.D., M.P.H. “These acts have a harmful impact on the mental well-being of all Americans, especially the Black community, exacerbating stress, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. We call upon authorities in Minneapolis and throughout the United States, especially during this time of increased tension in our country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to work harmoniously with community leaders to stop tragedies like this one from happening again and to calm the civil unrest that is raging in pockets of the U.S. and could erupt anywhere.”

The APA Board of Trustees passed a policy in 2018 condemning acts of police brutality on Black males.

APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., said this week’s event adds to the collective trauma that Black Americans endure in response to police brutality and everyday racial discrimination and bias against them. “As a leader in advocating better mental health of all Americans, APA decries any practice of violence and discrimination based on a person’s identity—whether it be from a neighbor, coworker, or community official.” As we watch the situation in Minneapolis unfold via media--or in person—APA urges those who are affected as a result of this incident to seek mental health help and services.”

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,800 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.

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