by the ADAA Board of Directors

The ADAA Board and leadership recognizes that this past year has been a tumultuous and, for many in our country, a very stressful and distressing one. Numerous instances of hate speech and angry sound bites have left many in our country, particularly minority groups, feeling extremely anxious, depressed and uncertain about the future.

Numerous research studies clearly indicate that not only does prejudice and hate speech decrease the ability to experience empathy and increase the risk of violence in society from both the prejudiced group and the victimized group, but it can also impair immune functioning and can even increase stroke risk. It can also negatively impact relationships and increase the risk for verbal and physical violence.

Hate speech, even when just overheard or read in the media and not personally directed at an individual, can result in emotional distress, difficulty concentrating, loss of trust and loss of community for anyone who identifies with the group who is being slandered.

There is no doubt that the ripple effect of anger, hate speech and prejudice is terrible and costly.

Yet research also clearly shows that there are concrete actions that people can take to improve mental health and wellness. Learning to practice tolerance, acceptance, kindness and service to others has a very positive impact on mental health and contributes to mental and physical wellness. People who learn to see the opportunity in difficult situations and find gratitude in all circumstances have a significant mental health advantage and tend to be more creative, happy and productive. This in turn creates a positive ripple effect in those around them.

As we look ahead to the New Year, we strongly encourage those feeling particularly anxious or depressed to avail themselves of the many helpful resources ADAA provides - from public education webinars, podcasts and blog posts to our free online peer-to-peer support group and helpful APPs. ADAA is here to help. The ADAA Board is committed to improving patient care by promoting the implementation of evidence-based treatments and best practices across disciplines through continuing education and trainings and accelerating dissemination of research into practice. ADAA’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity brings together clinicians and researchers with diverse backgrounds in medicine, psychology, social work, counseling, nursing, neuroscience, genetics, epidemiology, and other disciplines to advance science and treatment. We encourage those who suffer from these disorders to work together toward our goals and look ahead to a more tolerant and peaceful 2017.

Cindy J. Aaronson, MSW, PhD
Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ACT, ABPP
Karen Cassiday, PhD
Paul Holtzheimer, MD
Luana Marques, PhD
Charles Nemeroff, MD, PhD
Mark H. Pollack, MD
Scott Rauch, MD
Simon Rego, PsyD, ABPP, ACT
Peter Roy-Byrne, MD
Mary E. (Beth) Salcedo, MD
Naomi Simon, MD, MSc
Helen Blair Simpson, MD, PhD
Michael Van Ameringen, MD
Risa B. Weisberg, PhD

Download the message, here.