A new report has found that when it comes to COVID-19-related anxiety and/or depression, the Latinx community has been leading the nation. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the Census Bureau, roughly 42 percent of Latinx folks in the U.S. have reported mental anguish around the pandemic across seven months, spiking up to nearly 50 percent in mid-July and November. This is compared to 45 percent of Black adults and 39 percent for white ones.
NCHS and the Census Bureau used a 20-minute online experimental data system called the Household Pulse Survey, where, between April 23 and November 9, they asked respondents how often they felt anxious and depressed over the last seven days. For comparison, during the first half of 2019, the survey found that 8.2 percent of total adults had experienced anxiety, 6.6 percent had symptoms of depression, and 11 percent reported anxiety or depressive disorder.
People “report[ed] being very concerned about financial matters, testing positive for COVID-19 themselves, and feeling more isolated,” Paul Velez, chief executive of Miami’s Borinquen Medical Centers, told NBC News.
Such worries are understandable, considering that more than 48,000 Latinx individuals have died from complications of coronavirus, according to data from the NCHS. With Latinx communities disproportionately facing higher COVID-19 cases and deaths compared to their white, Asian American and Native American counterparts, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) wrote that worries around the virus are compounded when considering external factors, such as being an essential worker or one who is unable to work from home; not having inadequate healthcare or insurance; having higher rates of underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension or obesity and living in multigenerational homes where self-isolating is difficult.
Latinx children are suffering as well. NBC10 Boston reported that a recent survey of Massachusetts residents confirmed 43 percent of Spanish-speaking parents said they saw a decline in their children’s mental health because of the pandemic. In Phoenix, KOLD13 reported a rise in school mental health referrals, which could stem from having students’ daily educational routines upended or from witnessing the stress of adult family members.
“To assume that they’re not aware of this, under the conditions of the pandemic, would be naive,” Margarita Alegria, chief of the Disparities Research Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Mongan Institute, told KOLD13.
To find community-based organizations that serve Latinx communities, check out the National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health’s (the NNED) locator here.