The Impact of the Dual Pandemic on Black, Indigenous and Students of Color

October 2, 2020

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Title: Adapting and Innovating to Promote Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being of Young People of Color: COVID-19 and Beyond

Source: The Steve Fund

The topic of mental health is an ongoing conversation in higher education. New research from The Steve Fund Crisis Response Task Force explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student well-being, specifically for students of color.

The report reveals that structural racism has exacerbated COVID’s impact on Black, Indigenous, and students of color. Given the dual pandemic of COVID-19 and racial injustice, mental health stressors increased across different sectors including healthcare, workforce, and higher education. Further findings include increased racism experienced by Asian American adults and higher rates of depression, anxiety, and trauma-related symptoms for Black and Latinx adults.

Utilizing an equity minded mental health framework, the report provides both higher education and employers five strategies for increasing their mental health support for students of color.

Higher education leaders should:

  1. Build trust through racial trauma-informed leadership
  2. Take a collaborative approach to promote mental health for students of color
  3. Engage faculty and staff to support mental health of students of color
  4. Treat student mental health as a priority area for investment
  5. Leverage community and external stakeholders to promote mental health and emotional well-being of students of color

Employers should:

  1. Focus on students’ transitions from higher education to the workplace
  2. Help young employees of color navigate the workplace
  3. Conduct a workplace culture and practices assessment with a 2020 lens
  4. Promote an understanding of racial trauma, mental health, and emotional well-being in the workplace
  5. Develop allies, advocacy, and mobility

To explore date and recommendations more thoroughly, see the full report here.

—Ángel Gonzalez

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