Racially motivated shootings in Florida add to trauma, grief experienced by Black Americans, says APA president
Washington — Following is a statement by Thema Bryant, PhD, president of the American Psychological Association, in response to the fatal shooting of three Black people by a white man in Jacksonville, Florida, on Aug. 26:
“Once again, our nation has been rocked by a senseless, racially motivated shooting, causing the deaths of three people who were merely going about their day-to-day lives. Our science demonstrates the short- and long-term consequences of racism as a source of stress and trauma. Black Americans in the context of pervasive anti-Black racism may be experiencing depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress symptoms, numbness, collective grief and even physical responses such as migraines, nausea and body ache. These effects are not just experienced by Black Americans in Jacksonville, but across our nation.
“To cope and heal from the intergenerational wounds of racism, we recommend those who have been affected consider self-care, community care, self-expression through the arts, journaling, speaking with loved ones, spiritual coping strategies, seeking professional mental health support and engaging in advocacy and activism.
“Additionally, once again, the American Psychological Association calls for evidence-based solutions to stop the gun violence that has become a public health crisis and is tearing our country apart. Violence rooted in racism is much too common in our society. We must not become numb to these shocking acts of violence. Let us renew our commitment to eliminate racism and discrimination, enact stronger gun laws and encourage more constructive dialogue, community building, and peace rooted in justice and the honoring of our individual and collective dignity.”