Increased violence and hate towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been rapidly increasing since the beginning of pandemic. A hate crime is defined as any prejudice-motivated crime which a victim’s membership (or perceived membership) of a certain race, religion, sexual orientation, or other demographics is targeted. At Capital EAP, it is important for us to acknowledge such issues and provide support and resources to people in need. We are aware that this is not only a problem for Asian Americans, but it also takes everyone to learn and provide support.
As stated by the BBC News, the United Nations reported “an alarming level” of racially motivated violence and other hate incidents against AAPI as of late last year. Similarly, according to the NBC News, anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States had increased by nearly 150% since last year, especially in larger cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, who have been stereotyped as the “model minority” since the 1960s have experienced stigma and mental health struggles. Evidence has shown that Asian Americans are twice or thrice less likely than whites to seek mental health treatment. In fact, they are the least likely racial group in the United States to seek mental health services.
The ‘model minority’ myth
Emphasizes on the idea that all AAPIs are intelligent, fully integrated, and the “role model” amongst all minority groups. However, the ‘model minority’ myth is not only false, but this label is also damaging in the long run. It is a stress inducing to label an AAPI as a ‘model minority’ as the individual is then expected to meet certain standards or expectations to be “the best”. Do note that the media seems to encourage the myth by portraying Asian American characters as the “most intelligent”, “nerdy”, and “smartest” individual when compared to other characters from different racial backgrounds. Hence, the struggles that AAPIs go through may be overlooked due to this myth.
AAPI and Mental Health:
- Trauma – Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders may experience trauma from racial discriminations. First generation immigrants are more likely to experience trauma and will likely to pass down to their children and subsequent generations.
- Stigma – AAPIs are less likely to seek mental health services as there is a lack of mental health awareness. As a matter of fact, not all AAPIs have strong support systems they can turn to. Due to certain cultural factors, it may be challenging for AAPIs to express their difficulties.
- Family Expectations – Children of first-generation immigrants may be put in the spotlight for harsh family expectations. They may feel out of place, overwhelmed, and stressed out due to the conflicting cultural and personal values.
What can you do to help?
- Do check in on your Asian friends, family, relatives, coworkers, and neighbors. They may be affected by recent reported hate crimes, or they could even be one of the victims. Learn their stories and advocate for them.
- Be aware of your stereotypes and biases on the model minority myth.
- Asian American Racism & Mental Health Resources
- For AAPI parents, students. Resources for allies and educators are also included.
- STOP AAPI HATE
- To report incidents, more updated information and news can be found.
- ANTI-ASIAN VIOLENCE RESOURCES
- Newest updates on anti-Asian violence with relevant news articles. Resources for allies and education purposes are also available.
- Asian Mental Health Collective
- For AAPIs to learn more about mental health to eliminate stigmas and increase awareness of mental health.
- Asian American Mental Health Stigma: Why does it exist?
- To understand the stigmas of mental health in AAPI community, explanation of cultural and religious/spiritual factors are included.
By, Jessica Lau, MHC Intern