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Keywords

COVID-19; pandemics; Black Americans; African Americans; health disparities; healthcare disparities; mortality/ethnology; mental disorders; substance-related disorders; race factors

Disciplines

Psychiatry and Psychology

Abstract

The current COVID-19 pandemic has amplified health disparities that have long existed for minoritized groups in the United States. There have been disproportionate effects on the mental and physical health of the Black American population, specifically because of longstanding racial, social, and economic injustices. To fully understand the current state of Black mental health and the extent to which COVID has impacted it, we examine historical examples of unjust mental health practices throughout generations. We then explore why depression, suicidality, and other mental illnesses may have a profound effect on a community that has been made vulnerable to socioeconomic shifts. The complex interplay of individual stress, generational trauma, targeted violence, and mass catastrophe undermines the mental well-being of many Black Americans. This issue requires a multi-systems approach to improve trust in medicine and increase access to quality mental healthcare.

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