While public health reminders like to make the point that
COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, the Asian community has seen a marked increase in discrimination since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. No thanks to the racist rhetoric (or former president) that referred to COVID as the “kung flu” or “China virus,” anti-Asian sentiment has manifested in both verbal and physical violence — from that acquaintance making passive-aggressive comments online to street harassment or the heartbreaking physical assaults on our peers and elders. Even teenagers have been impacted, with one in every four young adult Asian Americans reported to have experienced anti-Asian hate during the pandemic in the form of verbal harassment, shunning, or cyber-bullying. During a pandemic that has increased stress and anxiety by 84% overall, experts say that Asian Americans are particularly at risk of struggling with their mental health right now.
“In the midst of grief from loved ones lost to the pandemic and the isolation from social distancing, Asians around the world have also been shouldering the impact of racist rhetoric, harassment, and race-based violent attacks that are being reported daily,” says clinical psychologist Jenny Wang, Ph.D., who founded the
Asians for Mental Health platform. “It is likely that many Asian Americans are struggling with vicarious (or secondary) traumatization, as they are exposed to violence toward Asians on social media.” Wang adds that she is “very concerned that Asian Americans are being pushed to the brink of psychological burnout, and the recovery from this period will be extremely costly to our community.”
Given that Asian Americans are two to three times less likely to
seek mental health support than their white counterparts, per the American Psychological Association, accessible mental wellness resources are more important than ever.
“Asian Americans must start breaking free from the fabricated perfection of the
model minority myth, the saving-face mentality, and shame-based perspectives that keep many of us from asking for help because so many are suffering in silence,” says Wang. “The more Asian Americans are willing to share about their experiences in seeking therapy and medication treatment, discussing their mental health struggles, and normalizing the conversation around mental health, the more effectively we can break the stigmas associated with seeking mental health care in the Asian community.”
Below, find 12 other mental health and wellness resources for AAPI communities that aim to shatter the stigma around mental health, and help people get the support they need right now.
The Asian Mental Health Collective
The Asian Mental Health Collective is an organization working to normalize and destigmatize mental health within the Asian American community by connecting AAPI mental health providers with clients and creating community in a private Facebook group. The AMHC also produces an
“Ask a Therapist” video series, along with a podcast, resource library, and community blog, among other initiatives. The Asian Mental Health Project
Founded by Carrie Zhang, the goal of the Asian Mental Health Project is to empower and educate members of the Asian American community in seeking mental health care. It maintains a therapist database, hosts digital summits, and holds virtual check-ins with its community weekly.
Brown Girl Therapy
Brown Girl Therapy is an online community founded by therapist-in-training Sahaj Kaur Kohli, focused on promoting therapy and unpacking bicultural identity. Though the account began as a creative outlet for Kohli’s writing, per an Instagram post, she
quickly noticed the lack of South Asian representation among mental health and wellness social platforms and worked to make these issues more visible by opening the conversation on mental health through her weekly newsletters, digital workshops, and virtual meet-ups. The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
Since it was founded in 2001,
NAAPIMHA’s mission has been to raise awareness about the role of mental health in the AAPI community, advocate for suicide prevention, create access to high-quality mental health services, and empower people to seek mental health support by working with both patients and community-led organizations. Asians Do Therapy
Founded by marriage and family therapist Yin J. Li, Asians Do Therapy was created to highlight Asian Americans’ experiences in therapy. The platform also shares resources on how to find the right therapist, as well as videos and articles highlighting prominent Asian Americans who have publicly spoken about therapy. Individuals are invited to share their own stories on their website, as well as on the
, which features both Asian therapists and clients alike. Asians Do Therapy podcast Project Lotus
Project Lotus is a youth-led organization working to challenge the
model minority myth while empowering and educating the Asian American community on the importance of mental health. In addition to the group’s social platforms and podcast, Project Lotus invites participants to contribute articles and opinion pieces about mental health issues that were once considered taboo like depression, anxiety, or seeking therapy. South Asian Therapists
Focused on connecting South Asian clients with mental health professionals, the
South Asian Therapists database was founded by lawyer and activist Raj Khaira after seeing the volume of distressed messages her feminist organization the Pink Ladoo Project, which works to combat gender bias in South Asian customs, had been getting following its launch. The idea was to start a small list of therapists to which Khaira could refer her followers, per the database’s website, but within the first three days of its June 2020 launch, more than 300 therapists responded, and the resource has only continued to grow. The Misfortune Cookies Podcast
Launched in November of 2020 by friends Karl and Rachel, this
podcast provides a space for Asian Americans to share their mental health stories while working to destigmatize conversations about the topic in the Asian American community. Alyssa Mancao
Alyssa “Lia” Mancao is a California-based psychotherapist who regularly hosts Instagram Live sessions to talk about mental health and self-care. She takes a holistic approach to mental health and wellness on her podcast as well as in her private practice; she talks about the value of reiki, for example, for reducing stress, increased relaxation, and an enhanced state of balance.
Brown Girl Trauma
Founded by therapist and author Nisha Patel, Brown Girl Trauma is an online community aimed at destigmatizing mental illness and empowering others to seek mental health support. With the intent to break the cycle of generational trauma, Patel uses her platform to speak to topics like dysfunctional families and healing from emotional abuse, among many other issues.
The Mind Health Spot
Laura Lu is a San Francisco-based therapist and psychologist-in-training who moderates
The Allied Minds, a network of mental health professionals from different backgrounds who are all dedicated to dismantling oppression, uplifting marginalized voices, and educating others on how injustice impacts mental health. On her own account, Lu regularly discusses how issues like racial trauma and internalized capitalism impact mental and emotional health. Reflections With a Therapist
Aparna Sagaram is a relationships and marriage therapist based in Philadelphia who talks about the negative impacts of the model minority myth. She regularly posts advice on setting boundaries and resolving conflict in relationships to her Instagram account, in addition to providing therapy to individuals, families, and couples IRL.
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