We may already know that experiencing racism and discrimination takes a toll on your mental health, but doctors have now come together to take a stance on prejudice as a widespread public health issue.
On Monday, the American College Of Physicians published a statement recognizing hate crimes as a health hazard. The ACP said in the statement that it opposes discrimination and violence against anyone based on their "race, ethnic origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity, nationality, primary language, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, cultural background, age, disability, or religion."
Hate crimes against anyone based on any of these identities, the statement reads, qualifies as a public health issue.
The statement was approved last month by the Board of Regents, but was published online on Monday — just as the U.S. was still reeling from the violence in Charlottesville. Experts speaking to CNN agreed that the incidents of hate and violence seen last weekend qualified as a public health problem. Jack Ende, MD, MACP, president of the ACP, named the events in Charlottesville in a statement, calling for doctors (and all people) to take a stance against hate.
"It is imperative that physicians, and all people, speak out against hate and hate crimes and against those who foster or perpetrate it, as was seen in the tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia," Ende said.
As CNN points out, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians have also previously issued statements on hate crimes as a public health problem.
By calling out these hate crimes as a public health issue, doctors are acknowledging that they are very real issues that can affect their patients.
"In particular for physicians, they must educate the public that hate crimes are a public health issue, exacting a toll on the health of those directly victimized and on the health of the entire community," Ende said in his statement.
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