In Support of Black Lives Matter

We express our condolences to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breoona Taylor, Javier Ambler, George Floyd and the families who have lost their loved ones at the hands of US Law enforcement recently.  The mission of the World Mental Health Coalition is to bring together mental health professionals with allies in other disciplines to help educate the public and policymakers.  These recent acts of terrorism against person of African Descent in America are in a long line of acts against African humanity and, as such, threatens well-being of said people and society more generally.We acknowledge that the psychological trauma incurred by people of African descent in America, also known and Blacks and/or African Americans, has been unremitting for generations.  Whether one looks at the horrors of the human trafficking of Africans from the continent of Africa, the brutal and harsh treatment of African enslavement in America, or the  discriminatory practices of Jim Crow Laws, the Black Codes, the Sun Down Laws, the redlining and predatory lending of banks, the disproportionate placement of Blacks in the Prison Industrial Complex and Black children in lower end special education school programs, the denial of culturally responsive health care, or the years of lynching, raping, and castrating, Blacks have existed under years of asphyxiating conditions.

We are concerned that Blacks are living under the duress of trauma that threatens every aspect of their lives including a reduced life expectancy and poor physical health.  We are aware that the rhetoric of this current president negatively impacts the health and well-being of Black people and therefore the general health of society.  The agenda of white superiority ultimately benefits no one, and we contend that this must be addressed immediately in the U.S. and globally.

As a mental health organization we are aware that psychic abuse of Blacks has been ongoing and thus surpassing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (there has never been a “post” trauma) to require more appropriately a label of Persistent Enslavement Systemic Trauma (PEST).  We embrace this new description, coined by one of our Board members (Dr. Kevin Washington) to emphasize the systemic trauma that has residual effects upon the daily activities of Black people in order to try to address the extent of the systemic and structural racism.

We call for Law Enforcers to closely examine their policing tactics of Blacks that are informed by racism.

We recognize that icons and images are associated with ideology and support the removal of statues, icons, and images that are associated with denial of the humanity of Blacks.

We advance that greater support for people of African descent is needed and therefore call on scholars, students, and researchers to come together at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) to study this problem, as well as to join Black organizations of professionals to examine ways of promoting the psycho-spiritual healing for all people of African descent.

We also call for solidarity in helping to bring reparations to persons of African descent around the world; addressing the sociopolitical issues that disrupt their mental and physical well-being; conducting research on the promotion of mental wellness of this underserved population; and engaging in corrective actions that help restore African peoples psychologically, politically, and economically.

As long as any portion of the torn fabric of society goes unrestored, societal health will always elude us.  For this reason, we stand in protest against the denial of human rights and the right to live that Blacks have endured and assert that Black Lives Matter.

 

Bandy X. Lee, M.D.

Kevin Washington, Ph.D.