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For Asian Americans Bearing Racism’s Psychological Toll, Mental Health Experts Have Advice

 April 19, 2021 at 11:48 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:10 [inaudible] Speaker 2: 00:10 From KQBD public radio in San Francisco. I'm Mina Kim coming up on forum, Asian American mental health care providers in California are seeing an increase in demand for services in the wake of surging reports of anti-Asian hate incidents, horrific attacks captured on video and the killings at Atlanta area spas and at a warehouse in Indianapolis. We are now having to put words to experiences that we long buried in this special collaboration with public radio stations across the state. We look at the toll of anti-Asian racism on a community that's been least likely of all racial groups to seek therapy. Join us. Speaker 1: 00:57 [inaudible] Speaker 2: 01:01 This is forum. I mean a Kim demand for mental health care is surging in the wake of attacks and violence against Asian-Americans of the 3,800 or so hate incidents reported during the pandemic to the group. Stop AAPI hate more than 40% happened in California in this special collaboration with other public radio stations across the state, we're taking a deeper look at the toll of anti-Asian racism and the issues surrounding access to mental health support. Joining me first is Josie Hong, who covers Asian-American communities for KPCC and lax. Welcome to forum Josie Wong. Speaker 3: 01:38 Thank you for having me Meena. Speaker 2: 01:40 You wrote an article earlier this month about the reactions Asian-Americans are having to racism and violence, and specifically sought out advice from five mental health experts. First, why did you write this piece? Speaker 3: 01:54 So honestly, Mina was partly doing the story for myself. I guess I'll start off by saying it's been stressful reporting through the pandemic, as you know, and lately my stress level has just been ramping up seeing the surge Virgin anti-Asian attacks nationally, but also right here in Southern California. I been, I cover Asian American communities and, you know, I, I pay close attention to anti-Asian incidents and I've been following it throughout the pandemic where you have been seeing an uptick, but it really seems to have picked up more in recent months with the frequency of these incidents and how they're happening all across Southern California. I see it in LA County or orange County, the inland empire, and some have been just random, violent attacks on Asian people, but in at least one recent instance, someone was attacked for just looking Asian just over a week ago in the Eagle rock neighborhood of LA in order Latina was reportedly beat up with an assailant yelling anti-Asian slurs at her, and it's not just violence. Speaker 3: 02:54 There's also been instances of terrorizing. There was a situation in Southern orange County. An Asian family was new to a neighborhood in Ladera ranch and was being kept up at night after night by local teens, banging on the doors and bring rocks. So all this has the effect of creating a sense of anxiety and feeling of being unwelcome in your own country. I was working on a story last week about a beloved little Tokyo restaurant in LA that is potentially closing. And the owner who is Japanese American is thinking about moving back to his wife's native Japan, because as he told me, they feel like, well, if we're, if we're not wanted here in the U S why not just leave, but, um, Mina, just coming back to why I wrote this piece, it's been a lot to take in and I've had myself trouble thinking of the footage I've seen of assaults on often vulnerable, older people and women. Speaker 3: 03:48 And I know from calling and texting with friends and family, that I wasn't the only person affected by this. It was almost all women I was having conversations with. And, uh, you know, you mentioned the stop API hate, um, reporting center. Um, women have been reporting anti-Asian incidents and more than twice the rate of men to the reporting center, and it's not surprising, they're feeling targeted more. And I was just hearing more about women going out by themselves, uh, less by themselves feeling hypervigilant when they did. Um, and they were buying pepper spray for this first time. We're taking self-defense courses over zoom because they were worried that they were going to be attacked. So I began to wonder what kind of impact all this had on people's mental health. Speaker 2: 04:34 And speaking of impact, you interviewed this 27 year old art student from LA Palma, who was saying that she was having a physical reaction to the stress. What did she tell you? Speaker 3: 04:44 That's right. I had met this woman, Eun Ji Kim, um, she's 27 and I met her at a vigil for the Atlanta victims the weekend after the mass shooting. And she was someone, um, who was having, as you mentioned, a physical reaction, she wasn't, uh, she felt lethargic and depressed, um, because she was relating so much to the women who were killed in Atlanta. And when, um, you know, she, she D she was telling me, she felt repeatedly objectified for being an Asian woman. And when a local law enforcement official minimize the gravity of the murder of these Asian women, by saying the perpetrator had a bad day, she, her body just shut down. And for about a week, she sat until she had a good cry with her mom. That's only when she began to feel better, but she's someone who was able to find an emotional outlet by attending a vigil and sharing her grief and rage. Speaker 3: 05:40 She said she had bottled up a lot of her feelings about anti-Asian racism, because she didn't feel like she had a right to complain that she herself had bought into model minority myth, that Asians are doing better. And as a black lives matter supporter, she didn't want to draw any attention away from the movement. But the thing is, um, you G grew up in a working class, immigrant family. She herself came to the U S as a young child from South Korea and her family really struggled to pay the bills. Dad is a house. Painter mom is a restaurant worker. And she said, if there's one positive thing to come out of the tragedy is that she realized she's not going to stay silent anymore. And at the vigil where I met her, she let everything out. She pointed out that Asian American women don't just face massage money and abused by non-Asians, but also within their own communities. And UNG told me she wasn't going to hold back any more. And that there'd be no more secrets. Speaker 2: 06:41 Well, Josie Wong, I'm so glad to hear that for her. And also, so appreciate you telling these stories as hard as they are to report on Josie Kwong Asian-American communities, correspondent for KPCC, and also covers the community for Las. Thanks so much for joining us. Speaker 3: 06:56 Yes. Thank you for having me. Speaker 2: 06:59 And we're talking about the mental and physical toll. The surge in reports of racist attacks against Asians are having on California's Asian American community. I want to share a clip that was shared with us by KPBS reporter, Christina Kim, from an interview she conducted with Dr. Nelly Tran and associate professor of counseling and school psychology at San Diego state university, who describes here driving past the site of the 2019 synagogue shooting in Poway. Speaker 4: 07:26 I was in Poway and I drove by some folks who had American flags and, you know, older white men who were yelling at the streets and the, the, the traffic light turned red. I did not run the light, but it crossed my mind. It crossed my mind if I should run this red light, so I wouldn't have to be there. And that's when, when it dawned on me, who has a thought to like a conscious thought, I should run this red light, you know, like that that's more dangerous, but yet, but for a split second, it dawned on me that it might be more dangerous for me to stop Speaker 2: 07:59 Joining me now is Dr. Kelly Tran clinical psychologist and associate professor in the department of psychiatry at UC Davis. Also the author of the gifts of adversity, reflections of a psychologist, refugee and survivor of sexual abuse. Dr. Tran, thanks so much for joining us. Speaker 3: 08:16 Thank you for having me also Speaker 2: 08:18 With us is Linda Ewen, licensed clinical social worker and founder of the yellow chair, collective a psychotherapy group in Los Angeles, Dr. Linda Yoon. Thanks so much for talking with us as well. I thank you for having me as well. That story from Nellie Tran, that we just heard, and the stories from Josie Wong earlier, Dr. Yuen, give us a window into why people may be realizing they need help processing the rise in anti-Asian attacks is an increase in demand for help, something you've been seeing at your practice, the yellow chair collective. Yes, Speaker 4: 08:52 We specialize in mental health Speaker 5: 08:56 And we have seen so much increase for Asian Americans seeking services at this point that it had been a little overwhelming for our practice. Uh, and we have been trying to meet the needs, not just through individual therapy, but also support groups. Um, and, um, the reason I think, uh, from what I see is that, um, Asian Americans have been experiencing racism, but it has been very mineralized or dismissed, uh, almost like unseen. And that we are seeing this violent images and use against Asians that is triggering where a lot of Asians right now. And they're, they, you know, they're, they're trying to seek in a ways to make sense out of it. You know, there's a lot of confusion, a lot of hurt, a lot of pain. Um, and you know, they have not been equipped to deal with it before. So yeah, there has been a lot of increase in service seeking. Speaker 2: 10:01 Have the calls come from outside California as well? Speaker 5: 10:06 Yes. Yes. Uh, we actually had calls from Atlanta, Georgia afterwards, too. Um, a lot of Asian clients seeking services, wanting to work with a therapist of Asian descent and which is hard to find in other States. Yeah. Speaker 2: 10:24 And you, your clientele is mostly millennials. You've touched a little bit on some of the things that you're hearing. Is there anything you want to add in terms of the things that they're expressing to you? The things that you hear often from them? Yeah. Speaker 5: 10:38 I mean, there is a lot of processing around what's happening right now with Asian American, uh, Asian file in a violence against Asians and racism happening, but also, uh, uh, conflicts around, uh, generations, uh, because they, uh, older generations seem to understand racism differently. And there's a lot of re um, a lot of there is around saving your face. So seeking, you know, mental health service or therapy is often looked as something shameful. Uh, there's a lot of stigma around it. So, um, yeah, that's what kind of coming up a lot, Speaker 2: 11:22 Dr. Kelly trend, can you talk about this stigma attached to therapy, especially among older Asian Americans? Speaker 5: 11:30 Absolutely. Yes, indeed. There is stigma around seeking mental health care, and I think it's also important to talk about not only stigma being the reasons why people are not seeking help, but also distrust of the mental health system and the lack of access to providers that speak their native language and are culturally competent. I think the distrust and the lack of providers that are competent is also a huge issue. Um, there's also a lack of knowledge about the mental health care system among many seekers. And so they don't know how to navigate it. And I think that can be a barrier to care and also, um, lack of insurance, lack of transportation and the high cost of treatment. Um, you know, really good mental health care is costly. And, um, you know, we, we do have good mental health community agencies that, uh, can help people, but also the issue is that there's not enough funding. So we, we need to, we need to have more funding. Speaker 2: 12:46 We're taking a deep, deeper look at the emotional and psychological toll of anti-Asian racism and what can be done to remove barriers to mental health support. We were talking with Dr. Kelly Tran, a clinical psychologist and associate professor in the department of psychiatry at UC Davis and Linda Ewen, a licensed clinical social worker and founder at yellow chair collective a psychotherapy group in Los Angeles. And you, our listeners are with us sharing your thoughts on Twitter or about how you've been affected by the rise in AEPi violence or the lack of mental health support. We'll have more after the break. I'm Mina Kim, welcome back to forum. I'm Mina Kim here to listener calls that we received. Speaker 6: 13:37 My name is Mila. I am a Filipino immigrant. I live in Riverside County, the separate depths of one Filipino and another, uh, Chinese woman in Riverside was too close to home for me. I now find myself acutely aware of people around me at the grocery store, avoiding eye contact with anyone from filling up my gas tank or stopped at the traffic signal or simply walking around the neighborhood. It's so devastating. And I know a lot of Filipinos, a lot of Asians are feeling the same way, but because of their resiliency and their, uh, forgiving nature. And like they say, they are the model minorities, we stay calm and quiet, but deep inside we are suffering. Hi, my name is Dan and I'm from Los Angeles. And honestly, I don't really want to share where I'm afraid of experiencing as Asian American, you know, violence or any of those sorts of things, because I'm afraid I might inspire to do something Speaker 7: 14:52 Awful and stupid. Speaker 2: 14:54 You're listening to a special collaboration with public radio stations across the state, looking at the toll of anti-Asian racism on a community that's been least likely of all racial groups to seek mental health support. And I'm joined by Dr. Kelly Tran clinical psychologist and associate professor in the department of psychiatry at UC Davis, Linda Ewan, a licensed clinical social worker and founder of the yellow chair collective in Los Angeles. And Dr. Tran, one of the things that I wanted to talk with you about was the trauma that, uh, is often something that re-emerges or comes up for people, um, as they are dealing with the experiences. Now you've written about how your experience fleeing Vietnam during the fall of Saigon, along with others years, serious traumas you've experienced have had an impact have come back up and that this is not uncommon for Southeast Asians. Can you talk a little bit more about that interaction, that interplay? Speaker 5: 15:50 Yes, absolutely. Um, the callers, when they talked about the reactions that they have in terms of vigilance and being afraid and not wanting to go out into the street, these are all signs that, uh, they're experiencing trauma. And even though they themselves have not been victims directly, but seeing others, being victimized, seeing your own community, being victimized every single day is traumatizing and stressful. And it affects our brain, the areas of the brain, like the amygdala, the hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex, all of these areas of the brain control an effect control our responses. So it is not surprising that people feel anxious and depressed and low energy and afraid, um, and actually can, can cause us to, um, feel less pleasure and less motivated in our daily lives. Speaker 2: 16:59 We received this written comment from a 13 year old listener who writes, I was furious that nobody had done anything to stop the racist acts. They all turn a blind eye where my friends, family and I alone, I wasn't sure I wanted to fight back. I wanted to scream and smash everything in sight. It's not fair that my mom had to tell me to be more careful walking along with my friends, because she didn't want me to experience verbal abuse. It's not fair that racism towards Asians has been normalized for so long. It's not fair that the boy who called me a Ching Chong, never got in trouble that day. And I did. It's not fair and beyond wrong. What happened in Georgia? I won't stand for it anymore. I won't let people make a racist joke and laugh about it. I'm not going to stay silent and let other people walk over me. My Asian heritage comes from a long line of hardworking, strong, and beautiful people. I won't let people forget that not today, not or ever now is the time to say something. Now, Linda, you, this comment is reminding me about something you said earlier about how racism against Asian Americans are minimized. And can you talk about the impact of seeing bystanders doing nothing? How does this combat compound those feelings of racism being minimized in the community? Speaker 5: 18:13 Yeah, it definitely, um, mineralized the experiences of, um, the Asian Americans I experiencing that is sending messages. That racism is okay. The violence is okay. And that, um, watched, you know, watching this can make us internalize those messages and question ourselves, you know, who, who, who am I like, what is my worth? What do I matter? Do my people matter? Uh, and it can really, um, like just like Dr. Tran said earlier, really roll into those trauma reaction in our body and our mind. Speaker 2: 18:57 And Carolyn Tran, you've been open about an incident of racism directed towards you. Can you share what happened? And I'm curious how others around you reacted to it when it happened. Speaker 5: 19:09 Oh, I've had so many incidents, there are four of them. Uh, but I, I can share, uh, the incident that you're talking about, which I wrote about in my book. And, um, it was actually, no, I'll share a more recent one. I was at a Costco recently and, um, a man came up to me. I was fully masked. He came up to me and pointed a finger in my face and said, you disgusting that eating B female dog, meaning, uh, you need to say 10 feet away from me rather than six feet. You stopped bringing diseases to our country, screaming this on the top of his lungs while there were multiple bystanders around and saw the whole thing, but nobody stepped in. And, um, it was definitely jarring. And, um, my response to him was shut the F up, get outta my face or else I'm gonna report you. And, um, it was, it was distressing that nobody stood up and tried to do anything or said anything. And I think this is one of the most upsetting things, um, for people who have been victims is that the people around them are not doing anything. And so I would like to ask everyone to please be an ally when you see things like that happen. Uh, don't just stand there, do something, say something. Speaker 2: 20:41 And has your hearing about these traumatic experience. I want to let our listeners know that we have posted state and local resources. Those who are looking for support on our website,, and also, uh, on social media accounts. Again, we're talking with Dr. Kelly Tran and Linda UN both working to help Asian Americans who are dealing with a heavy, emotional and psychological toll of anti-Asian racism and working on trying to remove barriers to mental health care and support. Dr. Carly Tran is a clinical psychologist and associate professor at UC Davis. Linda UNE is a licensed clinical social worker and founder of the yellow chair collective a psychotherapy group in Los Angeles. You, our listeners are with us sharing your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook about how you've been affected by the rise in AAPI violence, and even where you are finding support. Joining me now is Sarah Mises, tan race and equity reporter for capital public radio, Sarah Mises, tan. Thanks so much for joining us. Thanks so much for having me Amina. I understand that you've been speaking to members of the Hmong community, and you've been hearing echoes of what people have brought up already, a fear of going out a fear of being attacked. One of the things that you also heard is about the burden that mung women in particular are carrying. And I want to play a cut about that from your room, Speaker 7: 22:05 The weight that I think mom, women do carry in our communities, um, having to create those feelings spaces, um, can get very exhausting, right. Um, because oftentimes it's like, you know, folks up to us to figure out like what's next. And that oftentimes is, you know, really hard because we're also holding so many different spaces for folks and, um, holding just so many different types of roles and jobs that, you know, it does get really hard. Speaker 2: 22:34 Sarah, am I going to say, can you tell us more about that interview and the person that you're speaking with and if that's a consistent sentiment you are hearing in your reporting? Absolutely. Speaker 8: 22:43 Yeah. And so we just heard from Nancy Jong she's the executive director of mung innovating politics. That's a nonprofit that, um, deals with engaging the mung population in Sacramento in politics. Um, and they've been very, very active in this space since the Atlanta shootings. And honestly, they've been very active, um, even trying to engage their community post George Floyd and the feelings that the monk community here were feeling post that incident happening. Um, and yeah, I would say that her sentiment is very universal across the Asian-American community here in Sacramento, not just the mung population. I think that a lot of Asian American women right now in particular, are feeling tired or scared or feeling like, like Nancy said, they've gotta be holding space for a lot of different types of aggressions that their community is facing right now. Speaker 2: 23:33 I want to actually play two more voicemails that we received from listeners. These are listeners shout, ping, and long Tran and get your reaction shopping. Just been truly devastated. Speaker 6: 23:46 My family, my mother, my aunts, and my uncles were all just trying to not be in places that we can be attacked, just scared for my family and all my friends are black and Brown and just feeling like have to be on guard, pretty high anxiety being out and about. My name is Lon tramp from Los Angeles. I've been just so upset and sad, not just for the elderly and women and are being attacked, but upset about all the divide it's caused within the minority groups as well. Speaker 2: 24:22 Surmise this time I wanted to play that for you, uh, because in addition to women carrying the burden, the monk community, talking about that, one of the other things that I know you have spoken with people about is just the, the feeling like shopping had of concern, not just for herself, but for her black and Brown brothers and sisters. And also the concern that long trend raised about just the, the concerns that this will create more divides, interracial divides, divides across people of color. Can you talk a little bit more about what you've heard from them? Sure. Speaker 8: 24:57 Yeah. You know, I think in general, like I, myself as an Asian American woman can also just sympathize with the thoughts that we just heard. I feel all of that. Exactly. I feel, um, both worried to go outside and be outside on the street, even though I am someone who has had the privilege to be born in this country, I don't have an accent. And, um, you know, I, maybe I have the privilege to have a job that is not the types of jobs that might be targeted, um, when it comes to anti-Asian racism, although who can really say, um, and yeah, I think that there's also this feeling of sadness when we see these events happen that, you know, sometimes I think we see in some of the videos that have happened in the Bay in particular that these events have been done by other people of color. Speaker 8: 25:52 And I think that's really, it weighs heavy on my mind. I think, um, it's something that I think a lot of people, especially maybe a younger generation of Asian Americans, we felt like we really, especially after George Floyd, it was something that we really needed to address, especially within our community and amongst elders. And so, yeah, I totally, I think I totally agree that I feel like these incidents kind of are deepening this divide when I feel like really, I would hope that at the end of the day, this could be something that could unify all of us and that Asian-Americans could finally maybe say that they were, I know that some Asian Americans had been hesitant to get on board with the black lives matter movement, for example. And I, I had hoped in some ways that this might bring them together more Speaker 2: 26:40 Right. You gave an interview on KQBD podcast, the Bay, where you talked about a conversation with your dad last summer at the height of the protest for justice, for George Floyd. And you talked about his concerns over whether the black lives matter movement would benefit Asians in part because his experiences of racism were perpetuated by black people. Where is he now on that? Especially in light of recent events. Speaker 8: 27:03 Oh my gosh. Where's my dad in particular, you know, I think he's been, it's been funny. I think that this has been a bit of a racial reckoning that I think he has been anticipating for a while when it comes to Asian Americans. Um, and yeah, I think it's opened up a lot of old wounds for him as somebody who has grown up in, um, he grew up in New York, um, in, you know, the seventies in 1960s and there was a lot more racism perpetuated against him and it was a lot less common in New York to see an Asian American person, I think. And so he experienced a lot of racism, uh, both from white people and also from black people. And he remembers that very viscerally. Um, you know, I, I remember when I spoke with him for that episode, um, a year ago, I remember he mentioned wanting to have some sort of forum where he could speak with black people and where black people could speak with Asian people in kind of a safe space and address, maybe some of the preconceived notions that they have of each other, because there is so much on both ends, I think. Speaker 8: 28:13 Um, and now I think he's mostly just frustrated. Um, I, I think for like people who are listening and who are wondering, I can see maybe if you're not an Asian American and you're listening, you may wonder why is there anti-blackness within the Asian American community and vice versa. You may also wonder is there anti-aging this within the black community, um, as an Asian American, I can only speak from my perspective and say that, yes, I see it on both sides. Um, I know that it's been explained to me, um, from different Asian American studies professors, that this is something that, you know, Asian Americans are kind of this, um, this third race in a way, racial triangulation, we are both perpetual foreigners, but we also kind of exist on this scope of privilege, um, in between white and black people, black people kind of are at the bottom of the privilege. Scale of white people are at the top and Asian people are in the middle, but kind of off to the side. And I think that's been helpful in helping me parse at least the anti-blackness that exists within our community since Asian Americans were immigrants to this space. And I think we oftentimes just, we want to assimilate and obviously assimilating in this country, I think means aligning ourselves with all yourselves, with whiteness a lot of times. And I think that in part is what the Asian American community is having to grapple with Speaker 2: 29:33 Sarah Mises, tan race and equity reporter for capital public radio. Thanks so much for talking with us. Thanks so much, Mina. And thanks for your reporting as well. Speaker 5: 29:42 Linda Yoon, Speaker 2: 29:43 W w among your millennial clientele in particular, do you also hear something that we have heard on this program from other, um, therapists and myself licensed clinical social workers, that there is a sense of guilt sometimes about drawing attention to racism, if the perpetrators were nonwhite because they don't want to perpetuate, uh, basically harmful stereotypes against other communities of color, or that there's the sense of not wanting to raise the issue of racism, because it may not be as acute in their view as, as the things that black people experience. Do you hear this? Speaker 5: 30:19 Absolutely. We do hear this all the time, especially because our clienteles are millennials and gen Z, um, mostly, um, and there are more aware, um, you know, with the social media and more awareness, uh, they want to be sensitive. They want to, uh, understand the intersectionality of all this. And it is a common issue that they're bringing up and not knowing how to reconcile all that feelings. Um, it's like, just like Sarah said, we are in the middle, the previous scale, but on the side, uh, so like how to balance now still validating your experiences, but also recognizing the intersectionality all, you know, with other races and other people of color. Um, so yeah, that's something definitely come up a lot. Speaker 2: 31:14 And, and what do you say or do to try to help people deal with that additional layer of stress and concern? Speaker 5: 31:23 We have started, uh, support groups, uh, which, um, peop different, you know, hearing about different people, uh, discussing about it. Uh, a lot of clients found that really helpful and also we are doing a lot of psychoeducational groups around it. Uh, so we are trying to, um, really, um, make space for discussions and communication because, you know, everybody have to have their own journey on this and own process. Speaker 2: 31:56 Well, Richard writes what can be done to assuage Asian American feelings that we are not welcome in the U S I don't think condemning the violence is enough. I haven't heard many stories about the overall prevalence and growth of anti-Asian feelings among the general us population, only statistics on violent acts. We're talking about the, the toll of anti-Asian racism and barriers to care with Dr. Linda union, Carol Lee Tran more after the break, you're listening to forum and Mina Kim, Speaker 7: 32:30 When I was nine years old, my parents started building their dream home in Arcadia from the ground up. And one day we went to go see the progress, like the skeleton of it, maybe just like the wood structure and the cement that was being laid down. And there was a swastika spray painted on the brick wall. Um, and now at age 43, I'm hearing about all these acts of violence against elderly Asian Americans. And it makes me so angry and I don't know what to do about it. Given the violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. I've really relied on my family as well as my Asian American friends. Uh, I've been really fortunate that my relationships with the people who really understand this the best, uh, have been, have always been very strong. And despite all of the fear, I think there's a strong sense of trust in the fact that we will get this together. Also, the declaration is on social media against this violence has also helped a lot. Speaker 2: 33:36 Those were calls that we received from listeners for this special collaboration with public radio stations across the state, looking at the toll of anti-Asian racism on a community that's been least likely of all racial groups to seek mental health support. I mean, Kim, you're listening to forum and joining me now is Anna Mach president of ascend, a nonprofit organization advancing AAPI professionals. And EMOC thanks so much for joining us. Speaker 4: 34:00 Thank you, Mina, for inviting me. Speaker 2: 34:03 You warned your elderly dad. Who's just been vaccinated not to go out. Why, and can you tell us more about his response? Speaker 4: 34:13 Yeah, so I have an 88 year old father who lives alone in San Francisco. And I actually recently moved back to San Francisco to be closer to him. Uh, when I shared with him as been about a month now and told him to really stay home, his response was, Oh, we're always getting picked on. You're just over. You're just being overly protective. And so that actually his comment about just being picked on and accepting that as an immigrant in this country, and he's been in this country for over five decades, really set very heavily in my heart that there was a place of acceptance for the behavior that he was reading about. And seeing on the news, Speaker 2: 34:55 Kelly Trent would love to get your reaction to what Anne is describing in terms of the normalization, especially among elderly Asian Americans, have some of the racism against them. Speaker 4: 35:05 Yeah. I think the older generation feel that they need to be quiet and be accommodating. And I think this is the divide that we're seeing between the generations, that the younger generation is feeling more energized and empowered to speak up around this issue of anti-Asian hate. And we see that the older generation are still trying to be accommodating. Um, and also because of their own experiences from the, in this country, Speaker 5: 35:39 Feel like that this is nothing new at some level, you know, Asian Americans have been discriminated against and treated throughout our history and America. And I think this is really important for us to note that this anti Asian, um, hate is not new. It is a part of our history and we need to continue to combat it. We need to continue to shine a light on it. Um, over a year ago, many other, uh, psychologists and leaders within the Asian community, we were trying to sound the alarm on this problem of Asian hate. And, uh, we were ignored for the most part. And I think that, um, it is just absolutely shameful and unacceptable and tragic that it took the deaths of the six Asian women in Atlanta to get the attention of America in terms of the gravity of the problem. Speaker 2: 36:39 And Amar, can you say more about how these incidents have affected you, but also what has helped you most? And if in part, uh, what Caroline Tran is saying, getting active has been part of that, you know, Speaker 4: 36:53 Feels like I'm living, um, I'll call PTSD. These events really bring up all the things that many of us have experienced in our childhood, right? Whether the name calling, or even for me as close to 18 months ago, I have been while not physically attacked, then receiving a lot of hate mail, um, and, uh, tied to the work that we've been doing at ascend. And so that weighs heavily, especially when I personally have a college age student, a daughter that lives far away from me and a dad and I live alone. So all of that weighs heavily, I guess, for me, in terms of coping mechanisms, a couple of things, family and friends have been a key part of that support network. I literally have friends call in and check in on me every day to make sure I'm okay. And so that's been very helpful in, secondly, I think back to, I carefully mentioned as I've really used that energy and those feelings and turned it into work around greater work on advocacy and shining light on what is causing these acts of hate and the roots of racism that we all are experiencing in this country. Speaker 4: 38:07 So for me, that has been quite empowering and has allowed me not to let myself get too down, but really look ahead on what it is we can do. Speaker 2: 38:17 And can you talk quickly about the work that you do do at your nonprofit? Speaker 4: 38:22 So ascend is a Pan-Asian leadership organization, and while we've always focused on helping Asians break the glass ceiling, one of the pieces of work that we started a year ago was to what was just mentioned when we first saw the spike, uh, reported spike and anti-Asian, Hey, we started working with companies and with our members to really shine light on that and to say it's not acceptable and asking companies to denounce bias and really, uh, support our communities. So that work has continued including bringing the message to non-Asian audiences. I think most API APIs know what's going on, but as I talk to companies every day, I'm finding that actually a lot of people don't, a lot of people aren't necessarily catching the headlines or even going deeper into really understanding what is happening in our community and in particular what's happening in the workplace. Speaker 4: 39:23 So all of us go to work, whether in this virtual work, but we can't separate these feelings from how we show up at work. And I talked to so many employees of big companies where they are carrying the stress, even if they are not personally been attacked, but they have to deal with, you know, kids going back to school and caring what their elders and just running everyday errands while at the same time showing up for work almost as if nothing's happening, but as, as all of that can be separated. So RSN work shines a lot of light on that and tries to bring it together and helps and try to help employers be more sensitive to the wellbeing of the workforce. But in particular, the API workforce Speaker 2: 40:09 And this listener writes, do what, say what exactly I would welcome suggestions on how best to be the ally you need, as I can't even imagine how to help. Do you have any quick thoughts for this listener at a mock? Speaker 4: 40:19 I think the first thing is a lot of the people I've talked to that are seeing comfy and say, it's relatively quiet, meaning they don't even have colleagues calling them and checking in on them or recognizing that what's happening in the community has a direct impact on them and how they're feeling. So I would say the first thing to do is really just pick up the phone or text someone and call them that, you know, and just check in on them and let them know you're there to support them as a whole. And I would do that. It's not about having the answers. I'm finding that people are afraid to do that because they think they're going to be put in a position where someone's going to ask them for answers. I don't think APRs are looking for answers. We just want to know people understand, and people are there to help us, but not that we have the answers today. Uh, we can't fix what's going on in a matter of minutes, these will take, uh, the address, these efforts, these issues. It's going to take us probably my whole lifetime and more to get us a little bit better. Speaker 2: 41:26 And I'm Marcus president of ascend, a nonprofit organization advancing AAPI professionals. Thanks so much for talking with us. Thank you, Stephen tweets, I'm proud to work for an organization, Rams Richmond area multi-services which specifically addresses AAPI needs and mental health in San Francisco in the San Francisco area. We are currently offering an online support group every week on Friday afternoons. And so, uh, Linda, you can share with us, what are, do you offer tips for self-care and if so, what are some of your top ones for people? Speaker 5: 42:01 Yes. Um, I'll say, um, it's okay to take a pause. Um, the racial trauma burnout is real and a lot of people are experiencing it because I brains are just not meant to have oldest violent images and news coming to us like all the time. I think just cost it and our brain just cannot handle that. And so I want people to know it's okay to unplug, uh, not only from news and social media, but maybe from people or situations, they feel like they can not handle, uh, arrest really. Uh, we deserve to rest, um, to be able to be covered. We need to rest, um, and seek out support and help from others. Speaker 2: 42:48 And Carol Lee Tran, what would you add to that? Speaker 5: 42:51 Yeah, I would add engage in pleasurable activities, so unplugged for sure, but also find time to engage in pleasure board activities, uh, whatever it is, you know, meditating, hiking, exercising, anything that helps to ground us in the here and now and what we can do in terms of self-care and, um, being with family members, talking to friends and family members who, you know, support you and, um, being among allies, uh, right now virtually. But I think, you know, just hearing that you understand each other experiences, um, even if you're not Asian a sense of allyship from others who are non-Asian is very helpful and very important. Speaker 2: 43:42 One of the things that I thought was helpful was the tip actually to turn off auto-play on videos on social media, Linda Ewen, is this something that you would recommend because what impact have you seen some of the videos being shared, just the images and the fact that things are being captured on cell phone having on, on your clients? Speaker 5: 44:04 Yes. I would definitely recommend that if you're feeling overwhelmed or burnout, uh, around the images and youth that are constantly being out there, um, it really impacts our, uh, psychological or even physiological. And then it causes, uh, create some reactions from our body and mind. Um, that is okay to pause, unplug. Uh, it's okay to take care of yourself right now. Speaker 2: 44:34 Again, Dr. Linda, you and lessens clinical social worker and founder of yellow chair collective a psychotherapy group in Los Angeles, Dr. Kelly Tran clinical psychologist and associate professor in the department of psychiatry at UC Davis, author of the gifts of adversity, reflections of a psychologist, refugee and survivor of sexual abuse. You're listening to forum. I mean, a Kim, I want to play a clip from Leanne Kim, a former TV anchor and nonprofit leader who talked to KPBS, Christine and Kim also about what's helped her Speaker 4: 45:06 Each and every time that I'm able to share again. And to put the words, I feel stronger and stronger, it doesn't take away from the trauma or the help, how wrong or painful those experiences were. But to know that others are sharing that I'm not the only one. It, it means a lot. It means a lot. And I hope as a result of this, that people will think twice. You know, I hate, you know, I have a lot of white friends and, um, I never knew how to express to them. I do. I know now when they say, Oh, I just see you as myself. I never, I, you know, like I was raised not to see race and I was not, I was raised not to see color and Leanne, I just see you as myself, like a white person. And now I notice say, well, then you're not seeing the whole knee. And I want you to see the whole knee. I want to be able to show up fully Speaker 2: 46:13 Dr. Kelly Tran, without to get your reaction to that. The other thing that I wanted to ask you about is this sense that a lot of people are finding of speaking about it, sharing the experiences, having a good cry, having that sort of way of standing up and saying something and being visible has been helpful. But what about for people who that in itself is another form of stress, the pressure to speak out? W what, what advice do you have for them? Speaker 5: 46:40 Yeah, I think that it's really important to check in with ourselves and our bandwidth and not to feel pressure, to be the speaker of any issue. And especially around this issue, if you're not feeling like you're in a good place to be able to do it. So I would advise first thing is tune into what you're going through. If you don't have the bandwidth find ways to self care first and foremost. And, um, the other is to really, when, when we do speak up, speak from a place of authenticity, speak from a place of, uh, because I think that can be a very powerful force to help people understand. And that's why I love the last clip that you made. Is this person saying very honestly to her friends, that you're not seeing the whole meat, you need to see the entire me. And I think that, um, as a society, we need to be able to have more of those conversations and to help, uh, educate our friends and family members who may not be Asian-American, that it is an authentic and important conversation. And I believe it can be had in a respectful and compassionate way, but it needs to be had, we need to have everyone as our allies that the hate and racism is a disease, and it is so malignant and so pervasive and insidious that it's going to take all of us, all different colors to combat it. Speaker 2: 48:24 Well, Walter writes president Trump's rhetoric and hatred fostered an increased level of violence directed against Asian-Americans. My Oakland Chinatown 90 year old mother lives in fear under what appears to her as a modern reign of terror. Now I walk with my wife cautiously in full alert around our California Bay area community. The question for all American citizens is, are you willing to stand with Asian American and Pacific Islanders to condemn this hatred and violence? Dr. Tran earlier, we were talking a little bit about trauma. Can you, can you give us some advice on how to handle if past traumas are resurfacing, how to handle that, how to deal with the past? Speaker 5: 49:02 Absolutely. I wanted to go back to one point earlier that we were discussing and why it's important to turn off the TV and, um, you know, our, our cell phones and part of it is that we have mirror neurons in our brains. And each time we watch something that's violent, our body is actually registering that and our brain is mimicking what we're seeing, and that's why it is so stressful to watch those images of violence against our community over and over again. So I wanted to make that point. Um, it is, it is very important to, to take care of ourselves and to be able to recognize that, um, you know, the rhetoric, the racist rhetoric that president Trump, uh, weaponize use to weaponize COVID-19 against our community is very serious and damaging. And, um, I think as a society, we have to recognize that although racism has always been a part of our history, it was Trump's weaponizing it that has caused a surge. In fact, studies have shown a direct correlation between his racist language around COVID-19 and the search and the hate incidents and hate crimes against the Asian American community. Speaker 2: 50:31 Well, Jean writes, most of us are heartbroken and sickened by the AAPI violence. I know it doesn't seem that way right now, and I know it needs to get way better, but I wanted to share that some areas here in the Bay area, Asian residents are the norm, and there are cultural events at schools to help kids learn about all cultures. This is a beautiful thing. Well, Carolee Tran of UC Davis, clinical psychologist, and associate professor. Thank you so much for joining us. Linda Ewen, licensed clinical social worker and founder of yellow chair collective. Also our thanks to Anna mock at Josie Kwong, Sarah myosis, tan. And I also want to share with you that today's program was produced by KQBD Susan Britton, Caroline Smith, and grace one KPBS as Christina, Kim Gabey CRS, Megan Jamerson, with a support, our partners at cap radio KPCC and KCRW.

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Asian American mental health care providers in California are seeing an increase in demand for services in the wake of surging anti-Asian hate incidents.