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Black Lives Matter
A Statement to Our Connecticut Community
We wish to honor the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Mubarak Soulemane, Ahmaud Arbery and all other black lives unjustly loss to police violence. Their deaths, and so many others, resulting from brutal mistreatment by racially biased law enforcement, shake to the core the health and wellness of our community. The COVID-19 crisis has underscored the health disparities of communities of color around the country as black and brown people have been disproportionately hit hard by the pandemic. The simultaneous occurrence of these two epidemics--pandemic and racism--have exacerbated an already volatile situation, and further compromised the mental health of the affected populations.
Reach Out Connecticut is a program out of Clifford Beers, a mental health and trauma-healing provider to children and families in Connecticut. Our founder Clifford W. Beers fought for those who suffered from mental health problems. He changed the systems that allowed for the "insane" to be locked away to keep society safe. He fought, despite his own mental illness, for dignity and respect for those who suffer. Today, while we continue to fight for those who suffer from mental illness, we must also center and prioritize the black and brown folks in our community who do not have equal access to diagnosis, treatment and care. People of color are disproportionately impacted by untreated trauma, and this needs to be addressed.
Our children and adults who witnessed the murder of Mr. Floyd and others on the news are once again traumatized and made fearful for their lives. We know that this persistent and chronic stress may lead to physical, mental and social health problems. We will, at Reach Out CT and Clifford Beers, continue to draw attention to racially motivated trauma as a public health issue that necessitates a consistent public health response.
Because Reach Out CT is a free service, we encourage everyone to call with any issue you are dealing with. This applies to black and brown people who feel the stress of social injustice; law enforcement officers who are seeking connections to trauma care or harm prevention; people who are learning about racial identity and need additional resources for personal education; and any other concerned residents who wish to talk out their feelings, have questions, or wish to grieve in a judgement-free environment.
Our call specialists and the leadership team at Reach Out CT and Clifford Beers vow to keep anti-racism top of mind as we work in our communities. With this new support line we hope to make emotional support and resources more accessible to everyone in Connecticut and start a dialogue around what it means to receive care in a mental health capacity.
We ask you to join with us to create action that promotes humanity, paying close attention to the root causes of mental health distress and examining them with care. Clifford Beers has worked over the last 107 years to change the systems that cause so much injury. We must uphold this legacy during these difficult times and continue the mission of our founder Clifford W. Beers.
His compassion for people with mental illness changed how we view and treat behavioral health. He was not a man without flaws and struggled throughout his life. We are no different in our essential humanity. But, it is up to us to create a more just and healthy future for the children and the families we serve.
- The Reach Out CT Team