Race and Mental Health

by Alexandra Kam

The Office of Multicultural Affairs supports and makes an impact on many lives and believes in and stands for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders(AAPI) Awareness Month is typically celebrated in May but this community should be recognized and respected for their efforts and contributions each and every day all around the world. It is important to appreciate and respect this group of people for their culture. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to face racism. This community was blamed for the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The pandemic has affected many lives, resulting in mental health problems and being excluded. With the support of those outside the AAPI Community, the AAPI has been able to get back on their feet, feel included and be confident

According to Medical News Today, as racism and mental health are closely linked, that can cause or worsen mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to name a few. A review that was conducted in 2015 concluded that racism is twice as likely to affect a person’s mental health than their physical health. Mental health is such an important aspect for a balanced life. It gives us the time to reflect and realize the important and positive things that bring us joy rather than the negativity and toxic behaviors from unkind people.

The discrimination of any race, specifically Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, can affect the accessibility that this group of people have to basic necessities, such as health insurance, let alone receive help. The criticism and negativity that is received takes a toll on one’s mental health and can have a negative impact on their wellbeing as a whole. Individuals who identify within the AAPI community or any other minoritized race will feel anxiety and will not feel safe, because they won’t know who to trust or who will help them through these setbacks. Each individual should be proud of who they are, where they are from, having a unique background and take a different journey to be successful. The race they identify as shouldn’t affect what a person can or can’t do.

The life of each person is precious, as the news about hate crimes towards Asian American and Pacific Islander community is not acceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated. According to NBC News, a report came out about a California church shooting at a Taiwanese church where there have been disputes between China and Taiwan for several years, but also addresses the issues that are in the United States where gun violence continues to be an issue. The issues that are going on between the two countries shouldn’t be solved by harming innocent people, and continues to bring fear and stress to this community which brings instability to the mind.

Mental health shouldn’t be conquered alone, and should be found by getting help from a support group that consists of friends, family, teammates, teachers, coaches, and some individuals that we may not expect support from. The issues that the individual faced will be able to make them seem not confident to overcome the struggles they may be dealing with now, but with some encouragement and guidance they will be able to eventually realize that there are things to look forward to knowing that things will get better. I’m proud to represent the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and appreciate the culture in my life.

If you’re someone who is discriminated, there is someone always here for you who is willing to listen and will try to help you solve your problem. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.  Be compassionate towards those who do discriminate; no one is perfect and everyone has problems whether we are aware of it or not. It’s important to inform them of their mistakes and let them know that they’re discriminating. Discrimination shouldn’t hold someone back from what they want to accomplish because in this world, you can do anything! Focus on the controllable, not the uncontrollable; how you treat your friends, family, the next person you meet or see, or even how you address an issue are examples of some of these controllable factors. Remember, you are important and UMatter!