Position Statement and Resolution Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Their Adverse Impacts on Mental Health
The systematic subjugation of members of targeted racial groups, who hold less socio-political power and/or are racialized as non-White, as means to uphold White supremacy. Racism differs from prejudice, hatred, or discrimination because it requires one racial group to have systematic power and superiority over other groups in society. Often, racism is supported and maintained, both implicitly and explicitly, by institutional structures and policies, cultural norms and values, and individual behaviors.
The Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh) recognizes that systemic and historic racism and racial discrimination create profound wounds that often adversely affect mental health by diminishing the individual’s self-image, confidence, and optimal mental functioning. At the same time, people who have lived with and experienced racism often develop significant resilience and strengths worthy of being acknowledged and further nurtured.
Racism’s adverse impacts reach broadly, including both those experiencing racism and those living with privilege. The full impact of racism leaves all parties unprepared for a society that is becoming increasingly multicultural and global. Racism and racial discrimination are two of several factors leading to mental health care disparities. Some studies show that exposure to racism is associated with poorer mental health, including depression and anxiety. ATTACh believes that all forms of racism and racial discrimination affect mental health and wellbeing and negatively impact children, families, and the nation as a whole.
Therefore, the Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh):
- Works with our board, staff, and constituents not only to eliminate racism in its most overt forms, but also to actively become an anti-racist organization.
- Supports current and future actions to eliminate racism and racial discrimination by reviewing and changing this in our materials, training, board, and staff to be representative of multiculturalism, diversity, and efforts of greater inclusion.
- Encourages mental health professionals and others to be mindful of the existence and impact of racism and racial discrimination in the lives of clients/patients and their families, in clinical encounters, and in the development of mental health services.
- Supports member and public education on impacts of racism and racial discrimination, advocacy for equitable mental health services for all clients/patients, and further research into the impacts of racism and racial discrimination as an important public health and mental health issue.
- Encourages mental health professionals and others to acknowledge, recognize and explore the value of culturally traditional approaches to healing and well-being and to incorporate support for these approaches into their practices.
- Recognizes the detrimental effects that racism has on the mental health of people of color and supports policies and laws which would reduce further harm.
- Recognizes the resilience and strengths exhibited by individuals and communities of color and across all racial and cultural groups and supports policies and practices which acknowledge, nurture and support the full expression of these strengths.