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Resources for Communities of Color Face Covid-19: Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Perspectives

Hello You!

I want to preface this by first wishing you and your loved ones well during this difficult situation! However, if you feel that you need someone to talk to, please text “STEVE” to 741741 to access a culturally trained Crisis Text Line Counselor. As a gentle reminder, a “crisis” is subjective and can be any emotional, environmental, or physical situation that you may be in. So, even if you think that others would perceive your crisis as “small”, the Crisis Text Line Counselors are here to help!!

Now, with all that said, this post is to serve as a follow-up to the Communities of Color Face Covid-19: Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Perspectives. I personally found it a delight to be able to see and speak to such a diverse range of people that identify as AAPI and share in our experiences navigating the current crisis. If you’re interested, you can check-out the chat here.

Below you will find some resources and tips & tricks that we compiled for you to try at home, should you need it!

If you happen to have additions, please feel free to add them in the comments section below~

Be well,


Facing Macro and Micro Aggressions, Racism, Xenophobia and other Ugly Societal Ills

Mx. Yin J. Li wrote a quick-read article discussing suggestions on managing and surviving racism amidst Covid-19. They also included some additional readings, should you have the bandwidth. One that I’m particularly interested in following-up on is The Racial Healing Handbook.

Other additional reading can be:

Addressing Financial Hardships During Coronavirus

If your income or your family’s income has fallen or been cut off completely, this guide provides basic information that includes government benefits, free services and financial strategies.

Getting Help for Mental Health Issues

Due to stigma and other barriers, Asian students are one of the least likely student group to seek professional counseling. Students who already are managing existing mental health conditions or students who are impacted by the stress of COVID-19 are encouraged to recognize that this is a time when external professional support may be needed more than ever.

  1. First try contacting your home campus Counseling and Psychological Services or Student Health Services if you have questions of concerns. Many colleges and universities have free online (telemental health) services available.
  2. If you do not wish to or cannot reach your campus centers, look for other organizations that provide counseling. Examples include:
    1. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    2. The Steve Fund and Crisis Text Line, text “STEVE” to 741741
    3. The Trevor Project (for LGBTQ+ Youth), call 1-866-488-7386 OR text “START” to 678678.
  3. Finally, The Steve Fund also has some additional tips to juggle your mental health, here.

Interacting with Family: Moving Home, Social Distancing, and Boundaries

Among family, especially in regard to elders, there are various customs and rituals to show a sign of respect. These can include giving hugs, complying with and listening to what elders say, and providing some form of care or service. Therefore, social (physical) distancing and setting behavioral boundaries may not be generally typical or even acceptable and area difficult to navigate especially is one has lived away from home with greater independence and autonomy.

A suggestion from Dr. Bryan Kim, UH Hilo Professor, is to say something about social distancing when you first see a family person. An example would be “Aloha, Aunty! I am practicing social distancing…” in lieu of giving a hug to show you care about the person.

Even more complex is communication about privacy and “personal space”. Some suggestions would be:

  1. Create “work” schedules and workspaces for the entire family.
  2. “Suiting up” to make it more apparent to others that you are studying and “in class” (e.g. with your headphones and computer) or working on your job if you are not in your pajamas.
  3. Reduce clutter in your workspace.
  4. Be sure to move around the house a bit to see where you are most productive.

For Those Who Can’t Go Home

Anthony Jack, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, says that:

“As colleges respond to #COVID19 by going online and shutting down, we must remember that campus is a sanctuary for many students: the only place they have steady access to food, shelter, safe living quarters, and/or internet to take online classes. Please help those without exit strategies.”

The students that Dr. Jack refers to includes international students and students whose family of origin home has no resources or may be unsafe (e.g. domestic violence, homeless, low income, LGBT, and undocumented students). Although the current housing situation and need to social distance continues to be ambiguous, here are some suggestions to help:

  1. First, check with your campus Student Services. Some campuses have compiled Resource Hubs that may be of use.
    1. If you can’t find anything, please check out this document here. This document has a list of university responses and community organizing in response to COVID-19. Although it’s not an all-encompassing document for all the college campuses across the nation, your campus may be on it!
  2. If you feel that you feel isolated or lonely, you can always reach out to family or friends and schedule virtual dates. These dates can be “productive” study/work sessions, or can just serve as an idle video window where your group is muted and only use when you get bored~
  3. Finally, if your isolation may feel like too much and you need a third-party to speak to, please check out the resources listed underneath the “Getting Help for Mental Health Issues” section above.

Bolstering Academic Success

Also, with the transfer over to virtual systems, it can be very difficult for students to adjust -especially if you are aware what type of learner you are (i.e. need to be in a physical classroom or social facilitation aids in your productivity).

Some items that can help in these situations are:

  1. Attend virtual class regularly. Even if you may not have the energy to do so, you can always record the session for later!
  2. Time management.
  3. Study buddies (either with quarantine or virtual buddies).
  4. Use tutoring and academic advising, as available. Some students have found their academic advising offices useful with time managing and scheduling study blocks.
  5. Speak with your professor or T.A. if you are having trouble in the class.
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Diverse, Gifted & Resilient During Changing Times

The Steve Fund recognizes that these are challenging, unprecedented times.  We are a resource for students, their families, faculty and administration, and our mental health partners. COVID-19 is no exception. Our new webinar series, Community Conversations, features members of the Steve Fund community sharing how they are navigating this “new normal.”  We hope that their challenges, experiences and insights will inform and inspire you. You are not alone, and the Steve Fund is here to provide the support you need.

Our Mission: Promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color