The Mental Health Impact of Anti-Asian Racism

Source: American Psychological Association, April 9, 2021

Even before the deadly Atlanta-area spa shootings in March, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) had faced nearly 4,000 hate incidents since the pandemic began, a 149% rise over the previous year (Stop AAPI Hate National Report, 2021Anti‐Asian Prejudice March 2020, Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism). Reported episodes range from verbal harassment, insults, and jokes—such as referring to COVID-19 as the “kung flu”—to violent attacks in schools, businesses, and other public spaces.

To meet the needs of AAPI communities, psychologists are looking beyond traditional therapy and operating outside academic and health care settings. They’re studying racist incidents, including their roots and outcomes, and designing interventions to help targets and bystanders fight back. Psychologists are even engaged at the policy level, urging cultural sensitivity in Congress and promoting legislation to tackle hate crimes.

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