From nearly one million Americans dead due to the pandemic and the stress of weighing the risks of every outing, to the burden of code switching, dealing with microaggressions, and fear of police violence, Black folks’ mental health has taken a hit during the pandemic.

And we’re not just talking about adults. The past two years have been especially hard for kids. Along with the stressors we’ve all experienced, they’ve dealt with the transition to remote learning and then back to in-person classes. Sports and other extracurricular activities haven’t been as regular, and they may have had to be isolated from friends and family to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This year’s Black History Month theme, Black health and wellness, is an opportunity to open much-needed conversations addressing the specific mental health needs of Black children.

It’s a conversation we need to have because Black children grow up to become adults who are suffering. Suicide rates are up and rising, particularly among Black men. Depression rates tripled during the pandemic and symptoms became worse. And, with the heightened need for therapists — particularly culturally informed ones —  along with other strains on the mental health profession, it can take a long time to get assistance.

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