The World Federation for Mental Health calls for an end to all forms of racial discrimination across the world and in solidarity supports the outcry against racism and police brutality exposed in the United States after the death of Mr George Floyd.
His untimely death has magnified racism, inequalities, police brutality and injustices against black American’s while his death casts a magnifying lens in every country where injustices are perpetrated against black people and minority groups. His death has ignited and exposed layers of injustices and systemic racism suffered by black people and minority groups for many generations.
At its core racism provides unjust validation for restricted access in every sphere of life. This limitation is enforced by others who have chosen to undermine the existence of black people and minority groups as equal citizens of the world. The adverse mental health effects of racism on people due to the multiple negative discriminatory experiences, negative stereotypes and gross injustices cannot be ignored.
“As a global mental health organisation we wish to express our outrage and concern recognizing the mental health consequences of longstanding racial inequalities and oppression which ultimately results in internalized intergenerational trauma and psychological distress. Racism and its subjugation of people as lesser or inferior leads to pervasive negative stereotypes against others because of the colour of their skin cannot be tolerated”, says Ingrid Daniels, President of the WFMH. She added that, her own encounter and personal experience of structural, social and institutional racism was real and tangible having grown up in a divided racist Apartheid South Africa prior to 1994.
Mr Floyd’s death opens up deep wounds for many who lived and continue to live and experience racial injustice. The infliction of inferiority and mental distress as a result of longstanding racism and inequalities is a gross human rights violation and can no longer be tolerated.
The World Federation for Mental Health is opposed to all forms of discrimination, institutionalized covert and overt racism and the intergenerational mental health harm it has caused.
We call for the removal of political, social and economic barriers which exist and are obstacles to building mentally healthy societies.
We call for a world committed to transformation at every level to bring about redress to years of racial and minority group oppression. In earnest, we call for a transformation agenda aimed at building a just and equitable society which protects the mental health of all.
We call for the restoration of dignity, empathy, justice and recognition that all citizens of the world should reside in it free of discrimination. Let’s embrace our differences and unify our world. Let’s stand together as we oppose racism in all its forms.
In the spirit of African Ubuntu, “I am because of who you are – all for one and one for all”, a philosophy that promotes mutual respect and understanding, is what the world needs now.
We have the opportunity to address and break down all barriers which undermines the human rights and dignity of black people and other minority groups.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Every life matters and so does black lives.
The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) is the only international multidisciplinary, grassroots advocacy and education organization concerned with all aspects of mental health. WFMH is an international membership organization founded in 1948 to advance, among all peoples and nations, the prevention of mental and emotional disorders, the proper treatment and care of those with such disorders, and the promotion of mental health.
The mission of the World Federation for Mental Health is to promote the advancement of mental health awareness, prevention of mental disorders, advocacy, and best practice recovery focused interventions worldwide.