Racial trauma among Asian Americans on the rise

Asian solidarity rally
A protester holds a sign during a rally in solidarity with Asian hate crime victims outside of the San Francisco Hall of Justice on March 22, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Incidents of violence and hate against the Asian American community have surged, and therapists say they are seeing a correlating rise in the need for mental health services.

Aparna Sagaram, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Center City, said the number of people seeking help has risen sharply during the coronavirus pandemic. Her clients are mainly of Asian heritage, and many are also battling the pandemic of racism.

“Being called racial slurs and being blamed for the virus, and just really hurtful comments around things that have absolutely nothing to do with them,” she said.

According to a new survey from the Anti-Defamation League, online harassment targeting Asian Americans is rising at an alarming rate. Asian Americans experienced “the largest single rise in severe online hate and harassment year-over-year in comparison to other groups,” the ADL said.

Similarly, Stop AAPI Hate recorded nearly 3,800 anti-Asian and racist incidents over the past year, mostly targeting women.

“There's been an uptick in crimes against the Asian community. There’s a lot of people that are just worried about safety and just wanting support around how to survive this. There’s the toll on mental health,” added Sagaram.

She encourages people to focus on how to help themselves cope in the present by reaching out to people and tapping into resources in the community.