The tragic, horrifying deaths of Houstonian George Floyd in Minneapolis and other victims of racism have produced intense emotions this past week for me and my family, as well as for our entire team at The Menninger Clinic. These senseless events have re-opened painful wounds that have re-traumatized staff members on our team, countless neighbors and friends, and people across the country.
Here in Houston, George Floyd’s family home, we witnessed a massive peaceful march to support Mr. Floyd’s family and focus on remedies for racial injustice. The Menninger Clinic stands in solidarity for equality and human rights. Racism of any kind cannot be tolerated.
Everyone’s story, their hopes and dreams command respect and deserve to be heard. In our mental health work, we refer to achieving mutual understanding as mentalizing, or holding the other person’s mind in our mind. Through this process, we learn about our self and others. Toward that end, we encourage more listening. More dialogue. More respect. More caring. More understanding. More action – action that will solve what divides us. We must start inside ourselves and inside our circles of family, friends, leaders and officials. As a national leader in mental health, Menninger is committed to collaborating with other organizations to make real progress to overcome the trauma and stigma that are obstacles to healing.
It’s my belief that no organization, group or community is immune from inequalities at some level. We have had informal conversations at Menninger in recent days, and we will add new ways that we can learn about racial injustice, its impact and how we can provide the mental health support that is culturally aligned with what people need now and in the future. Further violence and racial injustice will only re-traumatize our families, our friends and our communities. Menninger knows the harm that is caused by maltreatment and the pileup of fear, stress and pain for individuals as well as communities.
Menninger exists to serve the community. We want to help, and we encourage other mental health organizations to join us in this effort that is needed now more than ever. Together, mental health organizations must be part of the solution to problems that face our community. That’s our pledge. Our nation’s losses from racial injustice, the pandemic and mental illness compel us to make this time in our lives the tipping point.
President and CEO
The Menninger Clinic