COVID mental health: Black Americans especially affected by pandemic, racism

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging and the current political climate, Americans feel stressed.

For many Black people, many political issues are multiplied.

Dr. Aderonke Pederson is a psychiatrist and instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Northwestern University. She's an advocate for Black health and wellness.

She says while we celebrate Black History Month, we also need to examine the impact COVID-19 and racism have on the daily lives of Black people.

"While there's a lot of celebration in the Black community, there's a lot of reflection, too," Dr. Pederson said.

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She said racism can affect your health.

"We're talking about stress that builds up, generational stress, individual stress, so, again, it's coming at people from both sides," she said.

It's not just affecting mental health, but also physical health.

"It builds up stress hormones, and those stress hormones include things like Cortisol, and when Cortisol builds up, it puts you at risk for things like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, hypertension, obesity," Pederson said.
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