Culturally Responsive Care
Cultural influences include historical, geographical, social, and familial factors. Culture is important because it bears upon what all people, patient or provider, bring to a clinical setting. Our cultures affect the way we express our thoughts, behaviors and emotions, and impact an individual's mental health related experiences. It can account for variations in how or what people communicate regarding symptoms. Finding or being a provider who can offer culturally responsive care improves treatment outcomes.
National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED) - COVID-19 Resources for Diverse Communities
- Contracovid.com: A multilingual website created by a group of Harvard Medical School students, contracovid.com offers information and news about COVID-19, as well as social assistance resources to help in the current climate, in English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole, and Portuguese.
- COVID-19 Printable Fact Sheets (CDC) available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Portuguese, Hatian Creole, and Vietnamese.
- Respond: Crisis Translators Network, a network of volunteer translators providing compassionate, effective, and trauma-informed interpretation and translation services for migrants, refugees, and anyone experiencing language barriers. This site offers printable materials and contact information for volunteer support.
- COVIBOOK, a short book by Manuela Molina written about COVID-19 to support and reassure children under the age of 7. Available for download in multiple languages.
- ASL Video Series: Caring for Someone at Home Who May Have COVID-19 (Americcan Sign Language)
- Tips in Spanish, for parents talking to children. A podcast presentation prepared by Dr. Margarita Tarragona.
- Accessibility Strategies for Deaf/Hard of Hearing People in Remote Meetings, Catharine McNally, via Medium.com.
- Guide for Parents of Asian/Asian American Adolescents, a guide for parents created by faculty and students in the William James College Asian Mental Health Concentration. Available in multiple languages.
Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll. There are things medical professionals and first responders can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions:
- Acknowledge that STS can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event.
- Learn the symptoms including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).
- Allow time for you and your family to recover from responding to the pandemic.
- Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.
- Take breaks from media coverage of COVID-19.
- Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for your family and patients as you did before the outbreak.
Adapted from the CDC website. Read more CDC tips for taking care of yourself during emergency response and read the SAMHSA tip sheet, Tips for Disaster Responders: Preventing and Managing Stress.
This information was compiled by the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) Executive Committee. The information published below is drawn from a document updated and shared on 4/4/2020. The AAPA is regularly updating content, please visit
Mental health and self-care
- Blog post on self-care tips for Asian Americans during COVID pandemic
- Headspace (www.headspace.com) has some free resources for all and is free for providers with NPI numbers in 2020
- Active online guide of free meditation resources
- Resources to support health providers’ mental health from UCSF
- Reminder of critical examinations of the use of mindfulness in western mental health
- NYC COVID Worker Care Network
- Psychology Today blog post: Radical healing in times of fear and uncertainty
Responding to racism and xenophobia
- Report and document incidents of hate crimes against AAPIs: www.asianpacificpolicyandplanningcouncil.org/stop-aapi-hate/
- Surviving Racism Amidst Covid-19 - by Yin J. Li: medium.com/@yintheralane/surviving-racism-amidst-covid-19-8b18473c3675
- NYTimes article, How to respond to microaggressions - by Hahna Yoon www.nytimes.com/2020/03/03/smarter-living/how-to-respond-to-microaggressions.html?fbclid=IwAR19UBIDhUReOUlnYVP8AbaDU6N3Uazn3Lbpv-_riGqHxEePB34rjq0c0bs
- Guide to responding to microaggressions - by Dr. Kevin Nadal
- From Talee Vang, PsyD., LP: “I have been so perturbed by the rising acts of racism against Asians on a global scale, I made a video to offer some skills for people Should they find themselves in the middle of a racist attack. Please watch and share so we can get information out to people. Thank you! youtu.be/O1q1hPLGq24
- Recording of 3/28 Townhall on Anti-Asian Racism: Race, Struggle and Solidarity in the Time of A Global Pandemic
- Dr. Sherry Wang featured on May Lee Show to explain how Asians can protect themselves during the coronavirus crisis: www.youtube.com/watch?v=G57kihf4N_Q
- New Yorker article, Confronting Anti-Asian Discrimination During the Coronavirus Crisis: www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/confronting-anti-asian-discrimination-during-the-coronavirus-crisis
- NPR Code Switch Podcast: When Xenophobia Spreads Like A Virus
- Dr. Kenneth Wang's Series on wearing face masks:
- Dr. Miguel Gallardo’s Cultural Humility Podcast with Dr. Doris Chang “COVID-19 and Asian Communities: Where Racism and Bigotry Are Also a Health Hazard”
Parenting/caregiving and other family resources
- Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Chinese and Spanish versions available) www.nctsn.org/resources/parent-caregiver-guide-to-helping-families-cope-with-the-coronavirus-disease-2019
- Talking with children about infectious disease outbreak (SAMHSA): store.samhsa.gov/product/Talking-With-Children-Tips-for-Caregivers-Parents-and-Teachers-During-Infectious-Disease-Outbreaks/PEP20-01-01-006
- Book to explain coronavirus to children in 21 languages (including Indonesia, Japanese, and Chinese): www.mindheart.co/descargables
- Card game to promote intergenerational communication and story-telling (great for shelter in place!): parentsarehuman.com/
Other best practices
- UH Hilo Professor of Psychology Bryan Kim on the importance of social distancing during COVID-19
- Dr. Jean Lau Chin's Psychology Today Article on crisis leadership during COVID-19
- SAMHSA Tips For Social Distancing, Quarantine, And Isolation During An Infectious Disease Outbreak
- Recorded Webinar - Older Adults and Isolation During COVID 19 (Mental Health America)
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Grandfamilies and Multigenerational Families
- Massachusetts has started a hotline to help families get information about their loved ones’ care at nursing homes. The family resource line number is 617-660-5399. The line is open 9 AM to 5 PM seven days a week.
- Aging Service Access Points (ASAPs) and Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) by Region.
- The Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth is regularly updating a resource list with suggestions from partner organizations
and the community. Please send submissions or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Massachusetts Comission on LGBTQ Youth Resource List
- The Commission is also holding events and providing support via social media. Click here for more information.
- Department of Education Safe Schools Program
The COVID-19 crisis is hurting us all, but it’s not hurting us all equally. The data
that would allow us to document the pandemic’s uneven toll rigorously either are not
being gathered or are only now emerging - and, still, it’s already clear that communities
of color, including children, once again are on the frontlines of vulnerability.
EmbraceRace, a multiracial community of parents, teachers, experts, and other caring adults who support each other to meet the challenges that race poses to our children, families, and communities, has gathered links that begin to tell the story of the impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and other racialized communities. A list of group-specific resources is included.
Guide for Parents of Asian/Asian American Adolescents, a guide for parents created by faculty and students in the William James College Asian Mental Health Concentration. Available in multiple languages.
Stigma occurs when people incorrectly associate a risk with a specific people, place, or thing. Stigmatization is especially common in disease outbreaks. Public health emergencies, such as the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), are stressful times for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can lead to social stigma toward people, places, or things. For example, stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate a disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease. Stigma can also occur after a person has been released from COVID-19 quarantine even though they are not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others.
Some groups of people who may be experiencing stigma because of COVID-19 include:
- Persons of Asian descent
- People who have traveled
- Emergency responders or healthcare professionals