Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

Coronavirus-Related Harassment And Discrimination Impacts Mental Health, Spreads Fear In Asian American Community

Gregory Bull / AP Photo
A man leaves a grocery store wearing a face mask Friday, April 17, 2020, in San Diego.
Evidence is mounting that Asian Americans are experiencing an increase in harassment and assaults in the United States, particularly since March when the coronavirus pandemic really began to affect Americans. Tomorrow a free virtual community conversation will be offered by Jewish Family Services to explore how this is affecting the mental health of members of the Asian American Community and how to deal with it.

Evidence is mounting that Asian Americans are experiencing an increase in harassment and assaults in the United States, particularly since March when the coronavirus pandemic really began to affect Americans.

Asian Americans have reported over 1,700 incidents of coronavirus discrimination to the STOP AAPI HATE website since mid March across the nation.

Advertisement

Thursday afternoon a free virtual community conversation will be offered by Jewish Family Service of San Diego to explore how this is affecting the mental health of members of the Asian American community and suggestions on how to cope during this unprecedented time.

Amanda Lee, who is division director of Adult Mental Health at the Union of Pan Asian Communities, will be on the panel for the community conversation. She said she has personally experienced being verbally harassed while on public transit for wearing a mask.

"The gentleman loudly announced, 'I guess I have to sit next to the masked people,' and sometimes when you're faced with a situation that could potentially escalate you have hopefully practiced different ways to intervene for yourself in a safe way. And for myself, I just chose to use humor and I replied to the man, 'Yes, I'm wearing a mask, I'm batman,' trying to diffuse the situation a little bit." Lee said. "But I can only imagine if I hadn't done that or if I hadn't gotten off quite soon after that ... perhaps it would have been a very bad situation or outcome."

Lee joined Midday Edition on Wednesday to discuss the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the Asian American community.