Due to the escalating violence in the Middle East, hate crimes and harassment impacting Jewish and Muslim Americans are currently increasing throughout the U.S., such as in New York and Chicago. According to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. hate crimes are expected to soar as the war in the Middle East intensifies. DHS warns that they are keeping the United States in a heightened threat environment. If you are experiencing feelings of increased anxiety, grief or frustration, you are not alone. We encourage you to reach out for support by texting HOME to 741741 – our live volunteer Crisis Counselors are available to support you, 24/7.
During these challenging times, we are reminded of the importance of coming together to build an empathetic society. As the devastation and loss of life in Israel and Gaza and hate crimes in the U.S. continue to rise, it is understandable that your mental health may be impacted. At Crisis Text Line, we see the emotional pain antisemitic, islamophobic and anti-Arab hate crimes cause for our Jewish, Islamic and Arab communities in the U.S. Violence affects people from all walks of life, irrespective of their age, gender, race, religion, or socio-economic status. We believe that every individual, regardless of their background or circumstances, should have access to resources that can help them navigate these seemingly endless cycles of violence and destruction. We are here to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for anyone, wherever they are.
Coping with tragedy, fear and uncertainty can be incredibly difficult. Here are some strategies that can help you find some relief.
- Self-Care: Self-care is essential in managing stress and anxiety. Make sure to prioritize activities that promote relaxation, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. When you are feeling anxious or just overwhelmed, try this breathing method for a few minutes with specific attention to every inhale and exhale. Taking a walk can also be a great way to release pent-up tension and reduce anxiety.
- Seek Support: Don’t keep your feelings bottled up. Sharing your thoughts and emotions with a trusted counselor, therapist, friends or family members can be therapeutic. It helps you process your feelings and provides a support system during difficult times. You can always text HOME to 741741 to reach a live volunteer Crisis Counselor.
- Step Away from Media: Take breaks and set boundaries. Decide on a specific amount of time or days you want to take a break from the news. This could be a few hours, a day, a week, or more, depending on your needs. You can turn off news notifications on your devices and log out of news-related apps or websites. You may also want to limit your time on social media platforms, which are often filled with news updates and opinions. Consider limiting your social media usage during your news breaks.
- Connect with Your Community. In moments when you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed or isolated, it’s often helpful to surround yourself with people who love and care about you. Try reaching out to friends and family and be as specific as you can about how you want them to support you.
- Create a Routine: Establishing a daily routine can provide structure and stability in your life. Consistency in your daily activities can help you regain a sense of control and predictability.
- Give Yourself Grace: It’s perfectly normal to feel a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, helplessness, guilt, or even numbness. Acknowledge and accept these feelings as a natural part of the grieving or healing process. Be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to be vulnerable and ask for help. Sharing your pain and allowing yourself to be supported can be a powerful way to heal and grow.
- Reach Out for Support: If you’re looking for resources specific to the Jewish and Muslim communities, here are a few resources to get you started:
- Relief Help provides emotional health referrals for the Jewish community.
- Institute of Muslim Mental Health provides peer-to-peer support and mental health referrals.
- BeWell is an initiative of Jewish federations of North America, helping teens and young adults thrive.
- The Family and Youth Institute provides resources, research and education to promote healthy family relationships and positive youth development in Muslim communities.
As violence in the Middle East continues, these moments of trauma are especially challenging for the Muslim, Arab, and Jewish communities. We honor the feelings of those who are currently suffering and strive for a future where hatred, violence and prejudice have no place. It’s precisely during these moments that reaching out for support becomes an act of courage and bravery. You are not alone. If you are overwhelmed and exhausted by a heavy heart, please know that we will always be here for you.