In the past year, anti-Asian violence has skyrocketed. There were over 3,800 reports of anti-Asian incidents, marking a 150 percent increase in these crimes. This week, six Asian people were killed in Atlanta, Georgia, four of whom were women. These hate crimes and increased incidents are incredibly worrying, angering, and deeply hurtful—especially to the Asian and Pacific Islander Community. Moreover, the tragedy in Atlanta highlights the persistent and insidious nature of racism, hate, and sexualization of Asians reflected in our society and media coverage. It is unacceptable.
During this time, it's many individuals are feeling a range of emotions—from fear and sadness to anger and anxiety. These are normal emotions to experience after a traumatic event.
Everyone feels and reacts to hate crimes and attacks differently, and we want you to know there’s no right or wrong way to feel right now. But, if you feel overwhelmed by the event, we’ve put together a list of things that may help you cope with whatever you’re feeling.
Mental Health Tips for Dealing with Traumatic Events
1. Limit exposure to media coverage. Get some distance from the event by turning off the news and taking a break from your social media accounts. This can help give you a chance to catch your breath and refocus your attention.
2. Identify and acknowledge the feelings that you may be experiencing. Understand that these feelings are a normal reaction to this event.
3. Remember that you have overcome adversity and trauma in the past. Try to remember what you did that helped you overcome the fear and helplessness in that situation. If it makes sense, do those things now.
4. Talk to others about your fears. Lean on your support systems. Reach out to people who make you feel safe. If you want to be around people who are feeling similar things to you and you’re in a city that has vigils or other gatherings about the Atlanta shooting, attend these events.
5. Find an outlet. On the other hand, if you do not feel like talking, that is alright too. Some people find exercise and other active ways of releasing feelings more helpful. Especially during the pandemic, it's beneficial to spend time outdoors and do activities that can help take your mind off things.
6. Maintain your routine. When terrible incidents like this happen, they can make you feel derailed or out of control. Use your routine to establish some sort of stability to get you through the day.
7. Realize that the things you’re feeling now are not permanent. They will change. Also, try to be realistic about the time it takes to feel better. It may take a while and that’s okay.
8. Recognize that the nature of hate crimes and attacks create fear and uncertainty about the future. Continue to find and do things that bring you joy. Walk outside. Try a new recipe. Call a friend. Avoid preoccupation with the things you cannot control to the extent that they prevent you from living your normal life. If you are unable to avoid preoccupation, consider seeing a mental health provider.
9. Get professional help. During times of stress, people who have depression, anxiety, and/or other mental illnesses may see their condition worsen. You should contact your mental health care provider, if you feel it will be beneficial. If you don’t have a mental health care provider and are in New York City, consider becoming a patient of Apicha Community Health Center by making an appointment here.
It's important to get the help you need, or talk to someone if you're struggling. There are 24/7 hotlines anyone can call, chat, or text with.