STATEMENT OF APA PRESIDENT IN RESPONSE TO SHOOTING AT PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE
WASHINGTON – Following is a statement by Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, president of the American Psychological Association, in response to the shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.
“We are horrified and heartbroken by this terrible crime and send our thoughts of compassion to the victims, their families and first responders, several of whom were also injured, and to the larger Jewish community.
“Hate crimes are the most extreme expression of prejudice. Compared to other crimes, hate crimes have a more destructive impact on victims and communities because they target core aspects of our identity as human beings.
“People victimized by violent hate crimes are likely to experience more intense psychological distress than victims of other violent crimes. These can take the form of post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and anger.
“Hate crimes also send the message to members of the victim’s group that they are unwelcome in the community, decreasing feelings of safety and security. Furthermore, witnessing discrimination against one’s own group can lead to psychological distress and lower self-esteem.
“The American Psychological Association urges those who are experiencing trauma in the aftermath of this tragedy to take care of yourselves. Connect with family and friends, talk about your feelings and limit your exposure and that of your children to news media. Remember that professional help is available.
“As always, APA supports the efforts of researchers, law enforcement, clinicians, teachers and policymakers to reduce the prevalence of hate crimes and to alleviate their effects upon victims.”