APA Condemns Racism in All Forms, Calls for End to Racial Inequalities in U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 1, 2020 – The American Psychiatric Association (APA) today issued the following statements in response to demonstrations across the nation in response to police brutality and the institutional racism that is being brought to the forefront.

“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 APA calls upon authorities in Minneapolis to prosecute the officer who caused George Floyd’s death, as well as the other officers involved, to the fullest extent allowed by law. Justice in this case will be just one step in the healing process of this country.

The APA Board of Trustees has a long history of condemning police brutality, including two policy statements passed in 2018, condemning racism and police brutality.

“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-threating to so many Black Americans. APA stands with the Black Community and all those opposed to racism to protect and improve the lives of the those who have experienced discrimination and the associated trauma.”

The APA believes that all forms of racism and racial discrimination affect mental health and well-being and negatively impact the nation as a whole. We must fight racism in all its forms, embracing multiculturalism, diversity, and greater inclusion.

The 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. Our members are standing by to help.

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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