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BRONX TIMES REPORTER,12 FEBRUARY 12-18, 2021
BY BRONX TIMES
Almost every New Yorker is suffering
an emotional toll during the
COVID-19 pandemic, but the suffering
is not equal for everyone.
A report released Monday by the
New York State Health Foundation
stated the obvious about a precipitous
rise, across the board, in anxiety and
depression among New Yorkers from
every walk of life. The level of mental
stress, however, was disproportionately
higher among Black and Latino
The report revealed yet another
layer of inequality in New York during
a period in our history when so much
long-ignored societal injustice has surfaced.
New York has been, in spirit, a
state that says it believes in equal justice
for all, yet the track record falls
far short of reaching that objective.
That inequality is why, when the
COVID-19 pandemic hit New York
hardest last March and April, Black
and Latino communities suffered the
worst illnesses and losses. Communities
of color have perennially lacked
the health care resources needed to
help all stay healthy and well, and the
massive death toll was a direct result
of that ignorance.
That inequality is why, following
the horrifi c murder of George Floyd
at the hands of Minneapolis police offi
cers, New Yorkers took to the streets
in protest against racial injustice.
Communities of color have been perennially
subjected to police abuses
and systemic racism which blocked
advancement and the ability of all New
Yorkers, regardless of color, to live in
safety and freedom.
The mental health gap in New York
City, despite recent efforts to close it,
has grown at the worst possible time.
Yet there is a path toward closing it.
When COVID-19 tests began ramping
up, the city and state worked to
establish hubs in communities of
color. The same has held true with the
COVID-19 vaccine, as churches, community
organizations and public housing
complexes are being equipped with
vaccination hubs to bring the “shot of
hope” directly to those who need it the
Now the city and state must work
together to do the same for addressing
the mental health needs of all New
Yorkers, especially Black and Latino
residents, during the pandemic. They
must work with mental health professionals,
medical systems and the same
partners involved in COVID-19 testing
and vaccination to create a localized
network bringing counselors directly
to where they are needed.
We must remedy this and other
painful inequalities as we move forward
in building a post-pandemic New
Healing the pain
The mental health crisis persists during the COVID-19 pandemic, but not all New Yorkers
are suffering at the same rate, according to a new study from the New York State Health