Blacksburg addressing mental health in the Asian American community with new resource

Cultural differences like the model minority myth create burdens of stigmatization for the community

It's Asian American and Pacific American Heritage Month here in the commonwealth.

BLACKBURG, Va. – Between the coronavirus pandemic and a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian Americans are feeling the mental toll of recent events, but there’s a new resource in Blacksburg this month that aims to help tackle this issue.

Recognizing Asian Americans this May, mental health is also an issue at the forefront.

Virginia Tech Asian Cultural Engagement Center Director Dr. Nina Ha said Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans (APIDA) community are “invisible.”

She said cultural differences like the model minority myth create burdens of stigmatization for the community.

“It says well, you are supposed to be successful, then you are not supposed to find help, right?” she said. “And you’re stigmatized if you do.”

Ha said there are countless stories of how her college students and faculty have endured verbal abuse in Blacksburg.

She said at one Montgomery County School Board meeting, children revealed experiences of violent acts of bullying.

“People throwing garbage at kids, telling them they have the coronavirus,” she said. “Also, throwing some white powder.”

However, the YMCA at Virginia Tech wants to help by offering webinars for APIDA members to trust their instincts and develop resilience after experiencing harassment.

“It’s good practice because otherwise, you might freeze up if something happens to you,” Ha said.

But bystanders are not excluded from the problem.

Instead, there will be webinars to teach people how to also tackle microaggressions once and for all.

The webinars are an hour long and there are multiple time slots.

You can view the schedule and register through the YMCA page.

If you want to learn about more mental health resources available at Virginia Tech, reach out to Dr. Nina Ha at

About the Author:

Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.