The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an unprecedented toll on the mental health of Americans across the map. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53% of adults reported that their mental health was negatively impacted by the pandemic. Adding on, 36% of adults said that they were having difficulty sleeping during the pandemic and 32% reported that they were having trouble eating.
In addition to the pandemic, Black Americans have dealt with the effects of high-profile police shootings. Shortly after the killing of George Floyd,U.S. Census Bureau data reported that anxiety among Black Americans had increased by 26% and depression increased by 22%. In an effort to combat the negative impact of the pandemic, Black churches have called on mental health professionals.
"After George Floyd's death, it became: 'Please talk to us about exposure to racial trauma and how we can help congregations deal with this,'" psychologist Alfiee Breland-Noble of the AAKOMA Project said.
"'Because this is a lot.'"
From Lincoln Memorial Baptist Church in Durham to Catalyst Church in West Philadelphia, mental health professionals are heading into churches to hold seminars and virtual town halls.
"Covid undoubtedly has escalated this conversation in great ways," pastor Kevin Gerow said.
"It has forced Black churches — some of which have been older, traditional and did not want to have this conversation — to actually now have this conversation in a very real way."
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