The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crises and socio-political unrest have impacted the Black community significantly. In Long Beach, the COVID-19 death rate for Blacks is significantly higher compared to the death rate for Whites who fall ill with COVID-19. This is connected to the underlying health conditions that may exacerbate COVID-19 complications leading to higher severity of illness. Black Long Beach residents are nine times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma and seven times more likely to be hospitalized for hypertension compared to White Long Beach residents. Black residents are at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19 because many cannot work from home, cannot afford to miss work, and often have jobs that require interacting with large numbers of other people. Additionally, COVID-19 has disrupted lives across the life span in Long Beach by closing schools, prohibiting social interactions, and eliminating jobs. The consistent anxiety of potential infection, compounded with the intergenerational trauma of historic and structural racism, has impacted the mental health of the Black community, increasing levels of chronic stress, anxiety, and depression.
This strategy connects uninsured or underinsured Long Beach Black residents experiencing negative mental and emotional health status to high quality culturally affirming mental health services.