The Toll Asian-American Hate Takes
By: Lily Ha, Contributing Writer
Recently, Asian-American racism in the United States has spiked, sparking protests across the nation. The result has been a decrease in mental health and stress amongst Asian-Americans. The fear, anger, piled up into one, causes many to suffer panic attacks or depression due to the resulting trauma on the mind from the personal effects on racism. Many factors cause these stress levels, including parental pressure to succeed in school, academic-related activities, and pressure to live up to the "model minority" stereotype. The “model minority” is that the group is seen as smarter, kinder, wealthier, harder working, and more integrated. This specifically refers to the stereotype that East Asians are better at math than others. To add to this, according to the American Psychology Association (APA), other factors may also include that discussing mental health concerns is regarded as overreacting and fake in many Asian-American homes. As a result, Asian-Americans tend to deny and neglect their feelings about mental health. Most importantly, Asian discrimination due to racial or cultural background, difficulty in balancing two different cultures, and developing a bicultural sense of self can most effectively reach a point of health deterioration.
Racism is a serious mental health issue because racism can easily lead to trauma. As a result, trauma can put people at higher risk of developing mental illnesses, which need to be taken seriously. Past trauma is prominently mentioned as the reason that people experience serious mental health conditions today. However, there are many forms of results of trauma from racism. According to WHO, depression is the most widely reported mental health condition. This comes as more racism is affecting many people of color, which includes Asians. Therefore, each race tends to experience different kinds of racist attitudes directed at them, so each group’s racial trauma is different and needs its own treatment plan. Additionally, these types of racist attacks do not necessarily have to be one major attack that sets the fire, but it can also be from many clusters of daily, or frequent acts of racism that set the fuel to this fire.
The news of protests and racist acts can lead to the fear of experiencing racism and discrimination. This should not be overlooked at all. This can seriously affect Asians’ mental health in general, as well as increasing the risk for things such as depression, anxiety, stress, and trauma.
During these times, self-care is very important. Be sure not to rush or push yourself and get lots and lots of rest. Treat yourself to some dessert, a movie, or binge-watch one of your favorite shows. When I feel stressed about these circumstances and issues, I like to eat some chocolate and other snacks and sweets and go downstairs in my basement and watch some television on the couch. It is a seemingly small yet effective way that will take your mind off heavier topics for the time being. Most importantly, none of the protests and incidents surrounding us currently is your fault.