‘Saahas for Cause’, along with GOPIO-IE and COLAIAPA, hosted a seminar highlighting the mental and physical health effects of COVID-19 on March 7th, 2021. The Seminar featured Ting Qin, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist, and Dr. Vaishali Saste, M.D., Hematology-Oncology. The speakers discussed things to consider as we adapt to the “new” normal. Guest speakers discussed possible protective measures, practicing mindfulness, stress management, and the safety of the community.

The Coronavirus pandemic has been a redefining moment of our time. Many communities are suffering under an almost intolerable burden of loss. But the pandemic is much more than just a global health crisis. The pandemic has taken a toll on our emotional and mental health. The South Asian community considers mental health a silent and taboo topic to discuss putting additional stress on the community to cope with the pandemic.

Organizations such as Saahas have observed an increase in the number of people battling loneliness and separation anxiety due to limited interactions in the pandemic. Youth and older adults are being hit the hardest by this pandemic and current restrictions.

On the topic of mental health, Ting Qin presented some staggering data. “During late June, 40% of US adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use.” Qin says some factors causing the uptick in mental health or substance use include COVID-19 threat, job security, financial pressure, and aggravated pre-existing issues. After a COVID-19 diagnosis, nearly 1 in 5 people are diagnosed with a mental health condition. The road to recovery is long, but it is achievable through practicing mindfulness, monitoring and managing stress, helping others and selves to seek help from experts and professionals.

The road to recovery would only be possible if we took precautionary measures even as COVID-19 case rates fall.

Dr. Saste focused more on taking measures to keep everyone protected till everyone is vaccinated. With the approval of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, the community is hopeful and looking ahead towards a return to a normal life. Dr. Saste emphasized wearing masks correctly, washing hands frequently, and maintaining social distance. She addressed some common myths and conspiracy theories about vaccines. Dr. Saste also briefly outlined what life would look like after mass vaccination.

With more than 40 participants, many actively participated in the Q&A session and appreciated the effort of Saahas for Cause, GOPIO-IE, and COLAIAPA for giving a platform to address such important topics during this crucial time.

About ‘Saahas For Cause’:

Saahas for Cause is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that serves the South Asian community living in Los Angeles County and Orange County by educating, empowering, and enabling the immigrant community to improve their quality of life through its four chapters.

Saahas is also actively engaged in various community health and outreach events. One such project is working with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to serve the South Asian community impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through resources and prevention.