In addition to concerns for physical safety, Asian Americans are saying rising incidents of anti-Asian hate during the pandemic are having a lasting impact on their mental health, well-being, and future careers. Some 42% of Asian Americans say experiencing racial discrimination has the biggest impact on their mental health, according to a survey of more than 2,000 people of all races, including 297 Asian Americans who experienced a hate incident. In the survey, conducted in April by Harris Poll on behalf of the educational campaign Girl Up, the same share of respondents said anti-Asian discrimination had the strongest impact on their career opportunities.
The survey data uncovers how discrimination, reports of which have increased during the pandemic but which occurs systemically, is impacting the livelihoods and futures of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in America, says Tawny Saez, director and cultural anthropologist at Harris Poll. “It shows the domino effect of discrimination. It’s not a one-and-done event — it has long-lasting impacts.”
Negative impact on mental health, friendships, and sense of self “creates an ecosystem of questioning yourself, which all impacts your mindset going into the workplace,” Saez says. That Asian Americans say racism is impacting their mental health is concerning given the racial demographic is among the least likely to report mental health issues and seek out professional help. Advocates say improving mental health access is key, as is bridging the cultural gap in a meaningful way, such as providing information and services in a range of Asian languages and physically locating services within communities.
“Having respected community leaders and members speak out about mental health issues as role models will also go a long way in making it acceptable to seek help,” says Sia Nowrojee, the senior director of global community at Girl Up. “The good news is that people, particularly young activists, are beginning to break the silence around mental health, including on the impact of racism on mental health.”
Read more at CNBC.com.