Black Health: Arkansas Minority Health Commission summit to highlight COVID-19’s impact on mental health in communities of color

Black Health: Arkansas Minority Health Commission summit to highlight COVID-19’s impact on mental health in communities of color

BCN Staff – April 18, 2022 – The state Health Department’s Arkansas Minority Health Commission (AMHC)is sponsoring an upcoming summit this week to underscore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color.

The AMHC, which is a division of the Arkansas Health Department (ADH), is hosting its 7th Biennial Summit on Friday (April 22) from 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The summit, entitled “Putting the ‘Me’ in Mental Health – Today, Tomorrow, and Always,” will be a live-streamed virtual event featuring a panel of community leaders and a keynote speaker at the Four Points Sheraton in Little Rock

During the all-morning summit, speakers will discuss the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the mental health of both children and adults in communities of color. The keynote speaker is Gina Neely, a television personality and best-selling author who has given presentations across the country showcasing her cooking skills and sharing her perspectives on life and issues facing women.

The local AMHC summit comes exactly one year after U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Director Rochelle Walensky declared that during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak that racism was serious public health threat, causing life-long negative effects on the mental and physical health of individuals in communities of color.

In addition, new analysis from the U.S. Census Bureau’s experimental Household Pulse Survey shows that while the coronavirus pandemic has been physically, emotionally and economically difficult for everyone, it has hit Black population harder than other races. In fact, the survey says, Black adults had higher rates of economic and mental health hardship during the pandemic than non-Hispanic White adults across several measures, including housing, debt, food insecurity, and mental health.

In 2020, one in five adults reported experiencing a mental health challenge, ADH officials said, noting that treating mental health is not one size fits all. The upcoming summit will explore mental health challenges and the types of assistance and treatments available, officials said.

Attendees can register for the event by visiting http://bit.ly/AMHC2022Summit.

The ADH Minority Health Commission’s mission is to ensure all minority Arkansans equitable access to preventative health care and to seek ways to promote health and prevent diseases and conditions that are prevalent among minority populations. The Commission strives to be a catalyst in bridging the gap in the health status of the minority population and that of the majority population of Arkansas. For more information about the ADH Minority Health Commission, please visit: www.arminorityhealth.com.

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