Coping With Ethnic Identity Related Stress, Anxiety, and Trauma

As a result of the recent events surrounding the mass shooting that occured in Atlanta Georgia targeting Asian Americans, many ethnic groups, especially the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community are feeling an overwhelming rush of sadness, anger, and fear. In grieving and attempting to understand these attacks, many are at a loss for words and thoughts as this horrific event brings about trauma that for some is new and for others who are part of the immigrant community this recovers the very fears and persecution they were trying to escape when migrating to the United States. Amongst the confusion and contemplation, it is important to remember that in these difficult times that our support systems and methods of coping are integral to our healing and development process in terms of managing the stress, anxiety, and trauma that comes from catastrophic events.

Checking in with family members and engaging in our support systems is a coping mechanism that spreads a sense of solidarity and community towards those who may also feel alone with having to manage the amount of mental and emotional exhaustion that can come from feeling as though you are a target. Given that mental health is largely stigmatized in ethnic communities such as Asian American, Pacific Islander, and hispanic based groups, identifying symptoms of posttraumatic stress, anxiety, and depression may be a struggle. However, when keeping a strong bond through communication, uplifting those closest to us, and initiating plans of action these feelings of isolation and fear can translate into strength and pride within our respective communities.

Although mental health issues are not as recognized in most ethnic cultures, should there ever be a point where the overload of emotions and mental distress can get to becoming physically distressing seeking professional help is another option to further delve into the healing and coping process. Concerns in terms of costs and insurance coverage are valid in terms of going forward with a consultation, however, there are many resources that are geared towards aiding immigrant and american communities of color in mental health struggles. Some of which even explore other resources that contribute to uplifting and strengthening these groups such as leading to a path for citizenship. When individuals are in vulnerable positions, to cope is to find strength and security once again and for some that can come in many different places.

This heartbreaking tragedy is one that has left many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders devastated and afraid; in a state of panic that had already been ongoing due to previous attacks made against elders within the community. For many this is a time of vulnerability and healing from mental and emotional wounds, and to do so through coming together, seeking therapy, or even just looking towards ways to get involved to pass legislations to aid those in need and to prevent further tragedies from occurring are the different ways of coping and leading our affected friends, family members, and loved ones build resilience and strength through this difficult time.