This workshop aims to provide school counsellors resources and strategies to support the mental health of East Asian youth dealing with anti-Asian racism. It has been developed in response to recent hate crimes and racist actions targeting institutions and individuals associated with Asian ancestry due to COVID-19 pandemic (Judd, 2020; Woodward, 2020). Given the concerns of an echo pandemic of mental health (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2020) and the acceleration of racism in Canadian communities, school counsellors are in vital positions to deal with these concern directly and from a preventative standpoint.
Racism is a determinant of health. In a meta-analysis of 293 studies, experiences of racism were associated with poorer mental health, including depression, anxiety, and psychological stress (Paradies et al., 2015). Individuals of Asian ancestry in North America have been subject to racial microaggressions and continue to be perceived as perpetual foreigners (Li, 1998; Poolokasingham et al., 2014 Trieu, 2019). Microaggressions are subtle forms of normalized racial discrimination and is predictive of increases in somatic symptoms and negative affect (Ong et al., 2013). Experiences of microaggressions in the Asian population in North America include feeling excluded, disregarded, treated like second-class citizen, and being pathologized and dismissed (Houshmand et al., 2014; Sue et al., 2009). These anti-Asian sentiments reflect a history of institutional and systemic racism in Canada, including official policies that promoted exclusion, discrimination, and segregation (Stanley, 2014).
The workshop situates anti-Asian racism in Canada from a sociohistorical perspective. It provides an overview of a self-reflexive resource for East Asian youth, along with considerations for supporting the mental health and well-being of East Asian youth.
Dr. Fred Chou is a registered psychologist whose research interests include the mental health of Asian Canadians, intergenerational trauma, and youth mental health literacy. As a community-based researcher, he specializes in using participatory and narrative research to facilitate tangible solutions and elevate underrepresented voices. Dr. Chou co-founded the Victoria Migrant Mental Health Network, a network of local mental health practitioners and academics whose aim is to facilitate collaboration and social action to support the mental well-being of migrants.
Macayla Yan is a Cantonese settler of colour currently studying Counselling Psychology at the University of Victoria on Lək̓ ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Homelands. They hold a Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology and Indigenous Studies and a Diploma in Intercultural Education. Macayla also has experience as a youth worker, accessible learning advisor, and vocational counsellor. As a social justice advocate, Macayla has facilitated diversity and anti-oppressive workshops and presentations for several years, tailoring them for a range of participants, including children and youth, adults with disabilities, educators, and post-secondary students. Macayla's work is grounded in their lived expertise through an intersectional lens.