Mind apologises after backlash to racial trauma social media posts

15 Sep 2022 News

Mental health charity Mind has apologised after publishing a series of statements on social media urging people experiencing racial trauma, following the killing of Chris Kaba, to “reach out”.

The charity has not deleted its original posts, which relate to the killing of Kaba, a Black man who was shot  in south London on 5 September by a police officer despite being unarmed.

It has published further clarifying statements, apologising for some of the wording in its original posts which may have given the impression that it did not also support or recognise trauma experienced by police officers.

Mind’s statements came after it published a strategy last year that included an “ambition to become a truly anti-racist organisation”.

Meanwhile, campaign group #CharitySoWhite, which reposted Mind’s original statements, has since criticised the charity for apologising.

‘Racial trauma is real’

Mind’s original posts published on 13 September read: “We need to talk about Chris Kaba.

“The killing of an unarmed Black man by a police officer is hard to bear. Especially when young Black men die disproportionately at the hands of the police.

“The Queen's death is dominating the news right now, but Chris Kaba deserves our attention.

“Racial trauma is real. And events like Chris Kaba's death can be incredibly triggering. If you're struggling with the news, please reach out. We're here for you.”

The Twitter thread received more than 1,000 replies, some of which criticised the charity for not appearing to support the work and trauma experienced by police officers.

Police Care UK, a charity which works with Mind to offer mental health support for emergency services professionals through the Blue Light programme, published statements that appeared to reference Mind’s Tweets.

“We are aware of recent comments made regarding the death of Chris Kaba and are actively engaged with our partners to discuss how this has affected the blue light community,” it said.

“We know the challenges that our police personnel face on a daily basis and continue to support them through our programme of services.”

Support for police officers’ mental health

Mind’s chief executive Paul Farmer then published a longer statement clarifying the charity’s position.

“It's important that we talk about difficult issues and, as a charity committed to anti-racism, we understand that sometimes people won't always agree,” he said.

“The post Mind shared yesterday was intended to support anyone affected by the news of Chris Kaba’s death. Supporting one group does not exclude another. We are here for everyone. We are very proud of the Blue Light programme we deliver in partnership to support our emergency services. Our support for the mental health of police officers is also unwavering.

“We understand that many police officers feel from the post that we are not there to support them, which was not our intention. Nor is it our intention to comment on an ongoing investigation nor to imply any conclusions about the circumstances of this case. We are sorry that some of our wording has given that impression.  We understand this is an extremely difficult time and are very committed to our work supporting the mental health of police officers and other emergency services personnel.

“Sometimes the focus of our communications will be on one group and sometimes on another. On this occasion, we felt it was important to focus on racial trauma which we know can be triggered by events in the news.

“Mind is here to make sure that no one faces a mental health problem alone.”

Campaign group #CharitySoWhite criticised Mind’s follow-up statements.

It said: “Charities need to be talking about Chris Kaba and racial trauma. We retweeted Mind’s post on this yesterday, but are deeply disappointed to see them validate racist bad faith criticisms today. You can’t say you’re committed to anti-racism when you’re gaslighting victims of racism.”

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