NYCPS Statements and Press Releases 

 


Statement in Support of Survivors of Sexual Trauma  
October 9, 2018

As members of the Women’s Committee of the New York County Psychiatric Society, a local District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association, we feel it is our professional, ethical, and moral obligation to speak out in support of survivors of sexual trauma who make the brave decision to share their stories publicly. Collectively we have decades of clinical experience working with this population. We have seen the serious, longstanding consequences of sexual trauma. It is difficult for survivors to come forward, and when they do, we applaud their courage in taking this bold step.

The National Violence Against Women Survey found that 1 in 6 women (17%) and 1 in 33 men (3%) reported being victims of attempted or completed rape during their lifetimes (1). Sexual violence can result in long-term psychiatric and social morbidity. We see this clinically and it is supported by a large body of literature. People who have been sexually assaulted have a higher probability of developing substance use disorders than the general public (2). On a social level, sexual violence adversely affects victims’ relationships with their family, friends, and co-workers (3). Thirty three percent (33%) of women who are raped contemplate suicide, and 13% of women who are raped attempt suicide (2).

Given the grave damage caused by sexual violence, it is of the utmost importance that all victims are heard, respected, and taken seriously so that perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, survivors are often ridiculed, mocked, intimidated and attacked when they come out publicly with their stories. Victim-silencing behavior is abhorrent, especially when it is espoused by public figures such as an elected official.

Survivors of sexual violence repeatedly endure negative consequences after revealing their painful experiences and that must not be the case.

Our expectations of our lawmakers is that when they become aware of such information or allegations, they do their due diligence and clear the matter in a respectful and rational manner, and set aside their political biases.

Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” It is time to relieve that suffering by enabling survivors to come forward and share their stories in a safe environment, free of prejudice, without fear of retaliatory attacks or character assassination.

We all deserve to benefit from our proud American democracy.

References
1. Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Sexual assault: Scope of the problem. (2018). Accessed at https://www.rainn.org/statistics/scope-problem on 25 September 2018.
2. DG Kilpatrick, CN Edumuds, AK Seymour. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation. Arlington, VA: National Victim Center and Medical University of South Carolina (1992).
3. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Socioemotional Impact of Violent Crime (2014).

This statement was authored by the Women's Committee and endorsed by NYCPS.

Women’s Committee Members
• Shabnam Shakibaie Smith, M.D. (Chair)
• Barbara Gordon, M.D.
• Diana Punko, M.D., M.S.
• Sharon Sageman, M.D.
• Morisa Schiff Mayer, M.D.


Separating Immigrant Children from Their Parents: How to Help in NYC
June 29, 2018

The New York County Psychiatric Society, in agreement with the American Psychiatric Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the medical community, notes with sadness and alarm the current immigration crisis and the government policy separating children from their parents. This violates all known mental health knowledge and humanitarian principles. It inflicts abandonment trauma on the young children who have become the innocent victims of this policy.

As we have learned, many of the affected children have been moved to the NYC area. We are actively reaching out to receiving organizations to look for ways to help meet these children's mental health needs and we will continue to update our website for ways you can help.

Of course, as psychiatrists we know that the best and most effective help is to reunite these children with their parents as quickly as possible! We call on all of our elected officials to bring about the reunion of these families.

Ways to Help

  • Catholic Charities has informed NYCPS that they are currently seeking a Spanish-speaking volunteer Child Psychiatrist to assist with assessments of displaced children in Hudson Valley. Email [email protected] for more information. They are also accepting in-kind donations of new toys, strollers, backpacks, and school supplies. To donate, contact Margaret Rodriguez at (212) 371-1011, ext. 2301 or [email protected]. NYCPS is in continued talks with them about when/where mental health assessments might be needed.
  • Cayuga Centers, one of the organizations receiving foster children, has set up a Wish List of items they still need to help with their program. (Please check the list first- as they are no longer in need of clothing, diapers, or food.) [Update: The Wish List is no longer active. Thank you for those who donated.]

NYCPS will keep you informed about volunteer and pro bono opportunities to assist these children and families. We will continue to update our website www.nycpsych.org with information as it becomes available.


NYCPS Statement Regarding CDC Report on Suicide Rate Increase
June 8, 2018

A report released just yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that suicide rates have increased in almost every state between 1999 and 2016, with nearly 45,000 deaths by suicide in 2016. The truth behind that data, already known personally by so many Americans, is felt by everyone this week in the wake of the recent high profile suicides.

Our organization and our members remain committed to providing the best possible care to those suffering from mental health disorders, but the alarming numbers released by the CDC remind us we must do more. We must call on all of our elected officials to do more to increase access to quality mental health care and funding for research. We must do more to educate the public on the importance of mental health care. We must remain vigilant in our fight to decrease the stigma associated with seeking help.

If you are in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741. If you are in New York City, you can also find support by calling NYC WELL at 1-888-NYC-WELL or by texing "WELL" to 65173.

Additional Resources:


Statement on Recent Physician Suicides
May 9, 2018

As we come to the end of this week of learning and gathering with our psychiatry colleagues at the APA Annual Meeting, we are taking a moment to reflect on the tragic loss of two young members of our medical community this past week at NYU. This comes just months after other local physician suicide deaths. We know that physicians have higher rates of burnout, depression, and suicide risk than the general population. These tragic events underscore the need for systemic solutions to support physicians and physicians-in-training. Our deepest condolences are extended to the family, friends, and colleagues of these two young professionals as well as the entire NYU community.

If you are in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you are in New York City, you can also find support by calling NYC WELL at 1-888-NYC-WELL or by texing "WELL" to 65173.

For additional information and resources on physician well-being and burnout, visit the APA's website.


The New York County Psychiatric Society Provides Mental Health Resources for Those Impacted by the Deadly Truck Attack in New York City
November 2, 2017


New York, NY – The NYCPS expresses its deepest sympathies to all those affected by the deadly truck attack on a bike path in Manhattan on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. As the potential mental health impact of this disaster increases for our local communities, the NYCPS would like to offer tips and resources on how to minimize possible mental and emotional effects of trauma caused by the attack.

These types of tragedies can have a tremendous psychological impact on all those directly and indirectly affected. It is normal to experience a wide range of mental or emotional reactions, from sadness, stress, and anxiety to more severe mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder, ongoing anxiety disorders, or depression.

President of NYCPS, Dr. Anna Costakis, said in a statement, “This is a very difficult time for everyone involved. Our immediate concerns are for the safety and well-being of those affected and volunteers who are helping with this tragedy. Traumatic events affect survivors, emergency workers and the friends and relatives of victims who have been involved. As psychiatrists, we understand the attack may cause significant distress and pose potential threats to the mental health of all those involved. It is important for everyone to know that help is available and treatment does work.”

The NYCPS and the American Psychiatric Association recommend following these steps for coping in the days following this traumatic event:
1. Keep informed about new information and developments, but avoid overexposure to news rebroadcasts of the tragedy. Be sure to use credible information sources to avoid speculation and rumors.
2. If you feel anxious, angry or sad, you are not alone. Talk to friends, family or peers who likely are experiencing the same feelings.
3. If you have contact with children, keep open dialogues with them regarding their fears of danger. Talk about your ability to cope with tragedy and get through the ordeal.
4. Feelings of anxiety and sadness following a traumatic event are natural. If these symptoms continue, even after order has been restored, or if these feelings begin to overwhelm you or your child, seek the advice of a psychiatric physician or other mental health professional in your local community.

For additional information about mental health issues including PTSD, anxiety and depression, visit the APA’s public education website here.
For information on the NYCPS and additional resources, visit www.nycpsych.org.

The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at www.psychiatry.org.


NYCPS & APA Hurricane Disaster Relief Efforts
October 4, 2017

The New York County Psychiatric Society sends condolences to all those affected by the recent hurricanes that have affected so many people throughout the southern states and the Caribbean. Our thoughts are with everyone involved in the healing and recovery efforts.

It seems that each day, new challenges to our own mental health and to that of our patients arise as tragedy after tragedy unfolds in the news. With these continued threats to our foundation and stability, it is imperative that we remain steadfast to the core values that brought us together as colleagues in psychiatry. We believe that our community can be of assistance to a greater psychiatric community outside of NYC.

To that end, NYCPS, and its Psychiatrists for Community Empowerment (P4CE) Committee, has spearheaded a few initiatives to help our colleagues in Puerto Rico and raise funds for general Disaster Relief. Please join us in assisting our colleagues in their time of need and perhaps we can dispel some of our own sense of despair and helplessness with these efforts.

Our Initiatives
Initiative #1 Supplies for the UPR Department of Psychiatry
P4CE reached out to our colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Puerto Rico's School of Medicine to see how we could help. They let us know about the fragile state of their patients' mental health of their patients is especially fragile right now, with suicides at an all-time high, and how they are low on much-needed supplies. P4CE arranged for the collection of supplies they requested, medications, first aid, and personal items, for their communities. The supplies were then shipped to physicians in Miami and transported to Puerto Rico by private jet.

NYCPS thanks our members who collectively donated over $3000 of personal items and 2 boxes of medication for the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Puerto Rico.

Initiative #2 Donations for APAF Disaster Relief Fund
NYCPS is partnering with the American Psychiatric Association Foundation to raise money for its Disaster Relief Fund. We held a fundraiser at our Bowling Night on Tuesday, November 7th and had over 35 attendees donate to disaster relief! Thank you for all your donations so far!

If you couldn't make it in person, you can still join our fundraiser by donating here.

All donations are going to the APA Foundation Disaster Relief Fund which supports the efforts of the American Red Cross' Disaster Services Program, including their Disaster Mental Health Volunteer Program.

Initiative #3 Supplies for the Medical Mission Trip of P4CE Member
NYCPS thanks all members who contributed to P4CE member Dr. Alan Rodriguez Penney's trip WishList for Puerto Rico. The supplies requested were to help with a planned needs assessment and clinic work. Details on his trip are in his letter below.

My name is Alan T. Rodriguez Penney, a PGY-3 resident at SUNY Downstate. On September 20th, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the island in 90 years. Since then, Puerto Rico has been in slow recovery, and while the Island received many donations and materials in the few weeks after the hurricane, there is still much work to be done, especially in rural communities!

CrearConSalud, Inc is a non-profit organization founded by a group of Puerto Rican psychiatrists living in the United States. The group is committed to improving mental health in Puerto Rico through community empowerment and has been going to to the Island since 2015. Since the hurricane, members of CrearConSalud have already visited Puerto Rico twice to do a needs assessment. I will be going with another Puerto Rican psychiatrist, Dr. Vanessa Torres Llenza, from Nov 19 to Nov 25th to continue the work of our colleagues and their collaboration with rural communities. We plan to visit Punta Santiago in Humacao to follow up with the community-based organization PECES, and assess the use of water filters that we donated in October. Additionally, we plan to collaborate with Iniciativa Comunitaria, an organization that does rural community work as well as outreach work with the homeless population. We will visit their community clinic Clínica Bantiox, and go on their nocturnal outreach program Operación Compasión.

How You Can Help
We are still accepting donations as part of our second initiative. You can donate by clicking here.

We will continue to update our website as we plan additional advocacy and relief efforts.


Statement on Shooting in Orlando, Florida 
June 14, 2016

By now most people have heard about the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida in the early hours of Sunday morning June 12, 2016. The New York County Psychiatric Society sends our condolences to all those who have lost a loved one and our support and encouragement goes out to all survivors and responders. As the Orlando community begins to cope with this senseless act of violence, our thoughts are with all the psychiatrists and mental health providers who will be working to aid this community in need. 

We are aware that events such as these have had a broad impact on many communities across the nation and world. We want the LGBT community, its allies, and others affected by gun violence to know that although these are difficult times, we look to the resilience and strength that has been an integral part of our nation for years, as we work to cope with this tragedy.

We will continue to work with the national APA and the NYCPS LGBT Committee to address this event and its aftermath.

Daniel Safin, M.D. 
President
NYCPS

Kenneth Ashley, M.D. 
Co-Chair
NYCPS LGBT Committee 

Lorraine Lothwell, M.D.
Co-Chair 
NYCPS LGBT Committee