APA Condemns Violence Against Asian Americans in Georgia
American Psychiatric Association
Mar 18, 2021
In response to the shooting of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, at spas in Georgia on Tuesday, APA issued a statement condemning the act and expressing support for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
“This year has seen a significant increase in racism and xenophobia against Asian Americans, and it is unacceptable and harmful,” said APA President Jeffrey Geller, M.D., M.P.H., in a media release. “This unspeakable tragedy can cause further fear for the AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] community, which has endured so much already. We send our condolences to the victims’ families and friends, and others who knew them.”
“The tragedy that occurred in Georgia is becoming far too familiar,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., in the release. “We must be mindful that the mental health impacts of mass shootings are far reaching, touching families, communities, and the nation as a whole. If you are struggling to cope with these traumatic events, please reach out to family or friends for support. If you are overwhelmed, seek help from a psychiatrist or your primary care provider.”
There has been a well-documented uptick in hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 3,800 incidents of harassment, discrimination, or violence against these communities occurred between March 19, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, according to a report released by Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting center created in response to the escalation in xenophobia and bigotry that these communities have faced over the past year. The vast majority of the incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate were experienced by women.
Stop AAPI Hate noted that its report includes only incidents that were reported to the organization, representing, “only a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occur.”
In a Psychiatric News special report, Dora Calott Wang, M.D., M.A., and Jesus Salvador Ligot, M.D., noted that, in addition to the increase in harassment and violence, “Asian Americans have long been underserved in terms of mental health care and have encountered cultural barriers to seeking care.“We must heal from two epidemics: COVID-19 and anti-Asian activity,” Wang and Ligot continued. “Both are potentially long lasting, with lethal consequences. Yet the epidemic of anti-Asian activity is fully up to us to end, as an American nation. It must stop, for America to heal this season of epidemics.”
For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “Special Report: Asian American Hate Incidents—A Co-occurring Epidemic During COVID-19.”