An Upcoming Storm: The Persistent Impacts of COVID-19 on the Black Community
The post-COVID impact on health in the Black community in the United States has been severe and widespread.
- Health Disparities
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally impacted Black communities across the United States and unmasked race-related health inequities. Black Americans have experienced more severe illness and death from COVID-19 than other racial groups. This is due to several factors, including underlying health conditions, poverty, and limited access to health care. The post-COVID illness among Black people has only worsened these disparities, as they are more likely to experience long-term health problems after recovering from the virus.
- Mental Health
The pandemic has significantly impacted mental health, and the Black community is no exception. The stress and anxiety of living through a global health crisis, coupled with the loss of loved ones, has taken a toll on the mental well-being of many Blacks. Multiple studies have found that COVID-19 sufferers are at risk for new psychiatric diagnoses in the six months following the initial illness. Post-COVID symptoms can also lead to depression and other mental health issues as people struggle to return to everyday life. In addition to anxiety and depressed mood, cognitive deficits, often described as “brain fog,” have been cited as common complaints among COVID-19 survivors.
- Economic Impacts
The pandemic has also devastated the economy, and Black Americans have been among the hardest hit. Many have lost their jobs, and those still employed often struggle to make ends meet. Post-COVID lingering symptoms can only worsen these economic problems, as people may have to take time off work to recover from the virus and its long-term effects.
- Education Disruption
The pandemic has disrupted the education system in many ways, and Black students have been particularly affected. Many students have fallen behind in their studies with remote learning and school closures, and the post-COVID continuing symptoms among Blacks may only worsen these problems.
The lingering impacts of COVID-19 have significantly impacted the Black community, exacerbating existing health, economic, and educational disparities. Alleviating the psychosocial burdens that post-COVID-19 patients face and meeting their mental health needs can enhance their engagement with other aspects of rehabilitation, such as physical and occupational therapy. Psychiatrists and psychologists will be crucial members of the interdisciplinary teams supporting Black COVID-19 survivors through rehabilitation. Policymakers and communities must work together to address these challenges and ensure that all in the Black community have the support they need to recover from the pandemic and its long-term effects.
Mental Health Resources for the Black Community
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Mental health resources for the Black community
- The Mental Health Coalition – Black Mental health Resources
- Self Magazine- 44 Mental Health Resources for Black People Trying to Survive in This Country
U.S. Census Bureau. 2021. How the Pandemic Affected Black and White Households.
Wright, G. L., Hubbard, L., & Darity Jr, W. A. (Eds.). (2022). The Pandemic Divide: How COVID Increased Inequality in America. Duke University Press.
Lukowsky, L. R., Der-Martirosian, C., & Dobalian, A. (2022). Disparities in excess, all-cause mortality among black, Hispanic, and white veterans at the US Department of Veterans Affairs during the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(4), 2368.
National Center for Health Statistics. U.S. Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey, 2022–2023. Long COVID. Generated interactively: from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/covid19/pulse/long-covid.htm
Xie, Y., Xu, E., & Al-Aly, Z. (2022). Risks of mental health outcomes in people with covid-19: cohort study. bmj, 376.
Jackson, J. J., Moldavan, A. M., & Valauri, A. (2023). A “Post” Pandemic(s) Village Check-In: Pulse Checks and Recommendations for a Hard Re-Set in Education. National Youth Advocacy and Resilience Journal, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.20429/nyarj.2023.060103