Helpful Tips for Protecting Mental Health in the Black Community

The We Can Do This COVID-19 education campaign recently hosted a free, virtual event titled, Mental Wealth: COVID’s impact on Mental Health in the Black Community. This interactive event was hosted on Zoom and streamed live on Facebook. 

The doctors offered created a safe space to share lived experiences and discuss best practices for mental wellness. They also explored COVID-19 vaccine education and access. Below you’ll find some helpful tips these experts shared.

What We Learned:

  1. Listen to Medical Experts: Trusted sources are often drowned out by the voices of celebrities, friends, athletes, social media influencers and others. Go with the advice of medical professionals, people who have years of education, licenses and professional experience. When in need of service providers, every state has licensing boards and national organizations of Black professionals such where people can find service providers. 
  1. Honesty is the Best Policy: Parents need to know it’s ok to tell their children when they’re struggling with anxiety or depression. It lets your children know it’s ok when they feel the same way. Having that level of communication sets a good example and lets children know it’s okay, smart and brave to seek help.
  1. Check on Your Children: Children have been experiencing higher rates of anxiety and depression over the last 10 years before and during the pandemic. Children need to know they can talk to their parents or other trusted adults about how they are feeling about school, relationships, loneliness, etc. Many who live in multigenerational households may have lost a primary caretaker during as a result of the virus. Parents also need to be mindful of exposure to screen time, social media and other things that contribute to anxiety.  
  1. Ask for Help: While cultural representation is not what it should be, there are far more resources available today than in the past. Primary care physicians can help with concerns like how to pay for services, healthy habits to prevent illness and other useful information. Be proactive and forthcoming about concerns and ask questions. 

About the Panel of Experts:  

  • Dr. Samira L. Brown is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the National Medical Association. She earned her medical degree at Harvard Medical School and completed her internship and residency in pediatrics at Boston Children’s. During the pandemic she co-founded Little Lives PPE (personal protective equipment) with two friends, another doctor and an attorney to develop practical and effective tools to help keep children and families safe. Dr. Brown has been listed as one of the Best Doctors in America® and has served as a medical expert on local and national media outlets including the TODAY show and NBC Nightly News.  
  • Dr. Byron Jasper is the founder and CEO of the Byja Clinic, a primary care practice in Baton Rouge, LA. He is a proud alumnus of Xavier University of Louisiana. He received his medical degree from Tulane School of Medicine and his master’s degree from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Jasper completed his family medicine residency at Baton Rouge General (BRG) Family Medicine Residency Program (FMRP), followed by two fellowships in Community Health Leadership Development at Georgetown University and HIV and Hepatitis C in Primary Care at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. 
  • Dr. Kendall Jasper is a clinical psychologist in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Jasper holds his Ph.D. and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  His professional experience includes Outpatient Community Mental Health treatment of individuals and families as well as group therapy for rural and urban populations, substance abuse treatment for adolescents and adults and anger management and Behavior Management Training for adults and families. He is passionate about working with these underserved populations in mental health.