A joint message from Medical Lead: Andy Montgomery, Founder: Jon Chanter, Chief Operations Officer: Smaira Rana, and our Designated Members.
The awful, unlawful, drawn out killing of George Floyd by an American policeman – looking into a camera with blank eyes, while his colleagues stood by, indifferent and unmoved – has sparked distress and anger, along with many calls for an end to such racism and injustice.
We recognise that there has long been an undercurrent of a disregarded history of systemic racism in this country, as well as in the States. We believe that everyone now needs to draw attention to this as to be silent is to continue to be complicit.
Psychiatry-UK does not tolerate racism. We are an organisation that is proud of our own cultural diversity and the richness it brings to our lives.
We recognise that those of us who are able to disengage and not think about these issues have privilege. If we are able to write off these issues as political rather than personal, that is a privilege: you who are impacted by this privilege do not have the luxury of dismissing such issues. The time is past when leaders of organisations could call this ‘too political’ to be discussed in the workplace – or anywhere else.
We want everyone with whom we work to feel safe, protected and listened to. It is not enough to just say the right words in a social media post if the work is not going to be done internally, as an organisation. The executive and management of Psychiatry-UK reached out to our own staff this week, to ensure that any who may be feeling anxious, distressed, or even afraid know that we offer support and help. We will support them all in any way that they need – and hope that other organisations will recognise that this sort of unconditional inclusivity is not an extra effort, but a minimum requirement. We will also be sharing resources to educate on issues arising from the #blacklivesmatter movement, both inside our organisation and with other people and organisations with whom we work.
We are here to help with mental health. We know that being different is not a weakness. Variety provides depth. Talking about our failings and failures is the only way to manage our fears and faults. We know, from the work we do, that it is only when you talk with someone about an issue that you can develop understanding, acknowledge mistakes, and learn compassion.
We will continue to learn and be part of the movement to demand change.