Stigma, Xenophobia, Racism, Discrimination
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 does not discriminate. Unfortunately, people do. Anti-Asian racism and xenophobia emerged since the early outbreak of COVID-19 and have continued to intensify. Experiencing and/or witnessing racially motivated aggression can take a toll on our individual and collective mental health. It is important to take care of yourself and stay resilient.
- You are not alone! Reach out to friends who understand your experiences. You can also reach out to community advocacy organizations.
- Take a break from headlines and TV every so often.
- If you have to go out, talk through any fears beforehand with friends or loved ones.
- If you do experience discrimination, put your safety first! Try to remove yourself from the situation immediately and seek emotional support.
- After an incident of discrimination, we may feel a lot of different emotions. Feelings of shame may occur. We need to remind ourselves that these discriminatory remarks are not true. We do not need to believe in them or let them diminish our self-worth.
- Feelings of anger are common and justified. Racism and xenophobia against any group are unacceptable. There are community action initiatives to combat COVID-19 stigma and discrimination. If you like to take part, click here.
- Spread facts, not fear. Rumours, stereotypes, and fake news can amplify stigma. Stay informed through reliable sources. For helpful tips on how to discern the quality of the news source, please see the biomedical checklist.
- We are all responsible to combat stigma and discrimination. We can model appropriate communication and actions to stop the spread of stigma. We can also correct the myths, rumors, and stereotypes when we see them, and in a safe manner.
- Get involved! Collective voice is louder than the voice of a single individual. There are community action initiatives taking place in your local neighbourhood. Get involved here.
For more information on combating stigma, please see:
- Combating Bias and Stigma Related to COVID-19 (American Psychological Association)
- COVID-19: your voices against stigma and discrimination
If you are experiencing COVID-19 related hostility and are seeking mental health support, you can find culturally-sensitive therapists and support via:
- Asian Initiative in Mental Health, Toronto Western Hospital
- Hong Fook Mental Health Association
- Across Boundaries