This page was created by the students of SNMA and their Black and Brown allies at the Emory SOM.
How is COVID-19 impacting the Black/African American community in America?
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought further light to the racist underpinnings of the systems and institutions that disproportionately affect Black people in the United States,. The compounding effect of COVID-19 and the healthcare disparities, predominantly rooted in socioeconomical inequities and medical racism, is evident in the fact that Black people have the second highest COVID-19 age-adjusted hospitalization rates, behind non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native people. Current research suggests a greater incidence in not only older adults but also patients with underlying medical conditions (e.g. chronic kidney disease (CKD), coronary artery disease (CAD), sickle cell disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus); many of which are common in Black and other minority populations.
- The COVID-19 hospitalization rate is five times higher in non-Hispanic black individuals compared to non-Hispanic white individuals
- There are discrepancies in perception of the cause(s) of the higher hospitalization rates for Black people
- Further discussion on the race gaps in COVID-19 deaths
- Tracking Race and Ethnicity in the COVID-19 pandemic
To address the racial gap in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths is to address medical racism and the systematic racism of which creates and maintains it.
Medical racism underlies the healthcare inequities and discrepancies seen within healthcare treatment of Black individuals and is not solely due to or established by the COVID-19 pandemic. This issue has persisted for years. The continuous mistreatment has developed negative psychological conditioning of distrust and anxiety towards the healthcare system. Racism, amongst many issues, is also a public health issue and requires waves of reform through transformative justice. To begin, individuals, especially healthcare professionals and administration, need to explicitly acknowledge that race and racism play a role in healthcare. Beyond accepting accountability, they need further education and training on the interplay between racism and healthcare.
Resources highlighting the racial disparities rampant in healthcare:
- Understanding and Addressing Racial Disparities in Health Care
- In Focus: Reducing Racial Disparities in Health Care by Confronting Racism
- Racial differences have been shown to influence pro-inflammatory transcription control and stress signaling pathways. Discrimination was then shown to explain more than 50% of race-related differences in pro-inflammatory transcription pathways
- Evidence shows that “racial inequalities in health exist across a range of biological systems among adults and are not explained by racial differences in poverty. The weathering effects of living in a race-conscious society may be greatest among those Blacks most likely to engage in high-effort coping.”
- Racism permeates into health care outcomes in terms of pain for Blacks and Whites due to false beliefs regarding biological differences
- Association found between racism and cardiovascular health in men
- Inequality in healthcare is linked to lower life expectancy in lower SES populations
- Perceived discrimination is positively associated with depressive symptoms in Black men
- Perceived racism is positively associated with adverse mental health outcomes among Black American adults
- Cross sectional and longitudinal effects of racism on mental health among Black residents of NYC showed temporal and detrimental effects on mental health
- How acknowledging racism as a problem helps with alleviating psychological distress
Reading Resources on Black History, Medical Racism, and Activism*
Black History (Racism & Various Intersectionalities):
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, Dr. Cornel West
Women, Race, and Class by Angela Y. Davis
Reproducing Race by Khiara Bridges
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Eloquent Rage by Brittany Cooper
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson
Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum
Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Friere
Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington
Black Skin, White Coats by Matthew M. Heaton
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Killing Rage: Ending Racism by Bell Hooks
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
How To Be Anti-Racist by Ibrim X Fendi
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
*Many of these resources discuss two or more of these categories/topics amongst many others not mentioned
Activism Resources (these are subject to change)
- These 2 links will direct you to comprehensive lists of ways to support the black community, with the sites being organized by category of support effort and the second site being updated daily
- If making monetary donations, please read the prompts that inform of the ways to best direct your funds
- This link will direct you to a compilation of resources, many of which are specific to the LA area–the second link found on this site is for an online medic training on how to provide aid to those injured while protesting
- This link will direct you to a donation page for the Pimento Relief Fund, which is gathering donations for black owned businesses in Minnesota that lack current insurance relief
- The businesses receiving funding from this effort were destroyed by white supremacists during the recent protests
- This link will direct you to the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) website
- This page includes information and advocacy for a fair trial in the George Floyd Case, as well as demands for improving criminal justice policies, economic policies, health policies, and voting policies to improve the quality of life for members of the black community at large
- This link will direct you to a page that informs of 8 law enforcement policies, that if modified by local officials, can contribute to substantially decreasing police brutality and the loss of black lives at the hands of the aberrant misuse of police force
- This site allows you to view the current mandate of these 8 policies by city, and provides contact information for lawmakers and law enforcement officials to lobby for change in each of the listed cities
- This link will direct you to a list of over 100 black owned restaurants, coffee shops, and food service businesses to support within the Atlanta area
Mental Health Resources
- Choosing a Provider
- ADAA Resources
- Other Resources
- Aakoma Project
- African American Mental Health Providers
- Association of Black Therapists
- Black Mental Health Wellness
- Mental Health Coalition: Black Mental Health Resources
- Boris L Henson Foundation
- Ethel’s Club
- National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
- Ourselves Black
- Talkspace: is offering a free therapist-led support group in addition to offering substantial financial assistance for therapy in the Black community.
- The Safe Place App is a Minority Mental Health app that educates and raises more awareness on Mental Illness in the Black Community
- Therapy for Black Girls
- Therapy for Black Men | Therapist Directory, Coach Directory, Blog
- Inclusive Therapists
- Mental Health Resources for African Americans – NAMI.org
- Trending Articles
From NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
- Association of Black Psychologists Directory
- Inclusive Therapists
- LGBTQ Psychotherapists of Color Directory
- National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
- Psychology Today Directory of African American Therapists
- Therapy for Black Men
Black Mental Health Resources: There are a variety of mental health resources available for people of color, but we have provided a few examples below. Please note: The resources included here are not endorsed by NAMI, and NAMI is not responsible for the content of or service provided by any of these resources.
- Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM) Group aimed at removing the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional health care and healing. They do this through education, training, advocacy and the creative arts.
- Black Men Heal Limited and selective free mental health service opportunities for Black men.
- Black Mental Health Alliance – (410) 338-2642, Provides information and resources and a “Find a Therapist” locator to connect with a culturally competent mental health professional.
- Black Mental Wellness Provides access to evidence-based information and resources about mental health and behavioral health topics from a Black perspective, as well as training opportunities for students and professionals.
- Black Women’s Health Imperative Organization advancing health equity and social justice for Black women through policy, advocacy, education, research and leadership development.
- Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation BLHF has launched the COVID-19 Free Virtual Therapy Support Campaign to raise money for mental health services provided by licensed clinicians in our network. Individuals with life-changing stressors and anxiety related to the coronavirus will have the cost for up to five (5) individual sessions defrayed on a first come, first serve basis until all funds are committed or exhausted.
- Brother You’re on My Mind An initiative launched by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and NIMHD to raise awareness of the mental health challenges associated with depression and stress that affect Black men and families. Website offers an online toolkit that provides Omega Psi Phi Fraternity chapters with the materials needed to educate fellow fraternity brothers and community members on depression and stress in Black men.
- Ebony’s Mental Health Resources by State List of Black-owned and focused mental health resources by state as compiled by Ebony magazine.
- Henry Health Provides culturally sensitive self-care support and teletherapy for Black men and their families. Currently in pilot program available only to residents of MD, VA and DC. Residents of other states can join their waiting list and will be notified when Henry Health is available in their state.
- Melanin and Mental Health Connects individuals with culturally competent clinicians committed to serving the mental health needs of Black & Latinx/Hispanic communities. Promotes the growth and healing of diverse communities through its website, online directory and events.
- Ourselves Black Provides information on promoting mental health and developing positive coping mechanisms through a podcast, online magazine and online discussion groups.
- POC Online Classroom Contains readings on the importance of self care, mental health care, and healing for people of color and within activist movements.
- Sista Afya Organization that provides mental wellness education, resource connection and community support for Black women.
- Therapy for Black Girls Online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. Offers listing of mental health professionals across the country who provide high quality, culturally competent services to Black women and girls, an informational podcast and an online support community.
- The SIWE Project Non-profit dedicated to promoting mental health awareness throughout the global Black community.
- The Steve Fund Organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color.
- Unapologetically Us Online community for Black women to seek support.
Harvard Medical School has created a learning module that includes information about the various vulnerable populations affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Language barriers are also important to address so that all communities can have accurate information on COVID-19. Below are COVID-19 resources for many different languages: