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Asian American Psychological Association Statement- Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

By Announcements, News, Press Release, Statements

December 2, 2021

The Asian American Psychological Association is deeply saddened and repulsed by the latest example of White Supremacy evidenced by the verdict in the Rittenhouse trial. While we are encouraged to see convictions in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, let us not forget that were it not for the work of activists and the Arbery family there would not have been an opportunity for accountability in the first place. The only difference between the past and our current state of affairs is that despite being pervasive across media outlets and social media streams, systems of oppression and anti-Blackness are disregarded and denied rather than dismantled. The message from the criminal justice system is clear – Whites are shielded from culpability, while Blacks are punished to the full extent of the law. This is unacceptable and will always be unacceptable. 


AAPA will continue to stand in solidarity with our Black siblings and strive for justice within and outside of our community. The gravity of the situation is not lost on us. It is our hope to find ways to be agents of change by going above and beyond providing statement after statement filled with emotions. As an action of support, we vow to remain steadfast in reviving our social justice task force that will include as its focus raising awareness of the ways in which anti-Blackness has permeated our communities and taking action to uproot this. We also pledge to allocate funding to support the work of our members in the areas of advocacy and social justice. We acknowledge the importance of community building and will work to strengthen our relationships with our fellow Ethnic Psychological Associations by implementing organizational action through collaboration. We are committed to maintaining dialogue and building awareness, both of which are essential to supporting the change process. As such, we will establish a consistent and dedicated space to address issues of social justice at our annual convention.


As research and our experiences remind us, repeated exposure to past and present traumas (both direct and vicarious) leads to significant emotional and physical distress. It is vital during this time to take steps to address this, both individually and as a community to support one another in our shared sorrow. We at AAPA stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and welcome the opportunity to join together in actualizing a world where this is our reality.


Past AAPA Statements:

AAPA Reaffirms Solidarity with Black Lives Matter during Pandemic of Racism

See .pdf version of statement here

Statement in Support of Naomi Osaka & Mental Health Advocacy in the Workplace

By Announcements, News, Press Release, Statements No Comments

see .pdf version here

Date: June 3, 2021

We, the Asian American Psychological Association, write this statement in adamant support of Naomi Osaka’s decision to not appear before international media during the French Open in order to preserve her mental health. Osaka risked her professional career and her income with this decision to advocate for her personal mental health and that of her fellow athletes, especially in the face of toxic and oppressive workplace policies. As a biracial Black and Japanese woman, she has previously and continues to face racism and sexism from the media, both at home and on the world stage. Her openness about her mental health draws attention to mental health conditions that are experienced by many people. There are an estimated 41.5% of adults in the U.S. who have had recent symptoms of depressive and anxiety disorder (CDC, 2021) and 62% of Asian Americans-alarmingly- report unmet mental health needs (Saw et al., 2021). Additionally, a 2016 study found that 30% of the female athletes surveyed reported symptoms of depression, and found symptoms of anxiety and eating disorders were unaddressed.

Osaka’s actions highlight the barriers that exist, even for highly successful professionals, to establish boundaries in order to protect their well-being and mental health. Women of color experience a complex intersection of racist and sexist experiences in the workplace, especially when they are treated as a token representative of a marginalized group. Being a racialized token in any context, and especially in highly visible positions, makes one especially vulnerable to experiencing racialized trauma on a regular basis. Osaka’s experience as a tennis professional mirrors this research. The penalty that Osaka has experienced by the French Open is, unfortunately, familiar to many people who are discouraged from setting boundaries in their workplaces and fear repercussions for making their mental health challenges public. It is these policies that reify societal stigmas associated with seeking mental health services. We applaud Osaka for standing up against workplace demands that are detrimental to her mental health and urge all employers to consider how workplace policies can actively harm or help the well-being of workers. Employers can support the mental health of employees by providing health insurance with good mental health coverage, as well as flexibility and accommodations to prioritize and support mental health. 

We commend Osaka for modeling self-advocacy, self- and community-care. This is not the first time that she has used her platform to address important societal issues. She has openly supported Black Lives Matter, spoken out against anti-Asian racism, and worn face masks with the names of victims of police brutality during the US Open. We stand with her and ask the sports community and all workplaces to look at workplace culture, demands, and policies with an eye toward creating more inclusive and equitable environments that prioritize human wellness.   

The primary mission of the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) is to advance the mental health and well-being of Asian American communities through research, professional practice, education, and policy.

Contact: communication@aapaonline.org

RESOURCES 

1 in 4 Project: https://www.1in4project.org/

  • organization for student athletes that works to overcome shame associated with mental health in sports with a focus on self-advocacy

Athletes Against Anxiety and Depression Foundation: https://www.aaadf.org/

  • foundation that provides resources for those coping with mental issues with a focus on community building

Athletes for Care: https://athletesforcare.org/?

  • nonprofit by former pro athletes working to advocate for the health of athletes with mental illness

The Players’ Tribune Mental Health Awareness Collection: https://www.theplayerstribune.com/collections/mental-health-awareness

  • A media outlet for pro athletes to post and share their stories related to mental health
  • Noteable article: Dear Black Women by Las Vegas Ace’s A’ja Wilson

Mental Health Issues with Female Athletes:

https://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/sports/2019/01/19/mental-health-issues-female-athletes-focusing-body-while-forgetting-brain/2628472002/

  • British Journal of Sports Medicine, 30 percent of surveyed female student-athletes showed signs of depression.

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) Hotline 800-950-6264

https://www.nami.org/help

  • The NAMI HelpLine is a free, nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals and support to people living with a mental health condition, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public. HelpLine staff and volunteers are experienced, well-trained and able to provide guidance.