Minorities suffered more severely from the pandemic’s effects on mental health
According to a new study by Andrew Chan of Harvard Medical School, Tim Spector of King’s College London, and colleagues, racial and ethnic minorities experienced a disproportionately high burden on their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previous studies have shown that, compared to non-Hispanic whites, minorities have had a disproportionate burden of COVID-19, including increased rates of infection, severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
In addition, it has been noted that the incidence of depressive symptoms has increased threefold since the epidemic.
It was unclear, nevertheless, how COVID-19 affected minorities’ mental health. The 691,473 Americans and Britons who answered the smartphone-based COVID Symptom Study between January 23, 2021 and June 9, 2021 were the subjects of the current study, which utilised their data.
Social media was used to find participants, who provided baseline data before using the Zoe app to track daily symptoms and COVID-19 test results.
The PHQ-4 (Panvalidated 4-item Patient Health Questionnaire for Depression and Anxiety), PHQ-9, and GAD-7 (7-item General Anxiety Disorder) screening instruments were used to generate the questions.
The study indicated that Black individuals in the U.S. were 1.16 times more likely than white participants to screen positive for depression (95% CI: 1.02-1.31), even after controlling for personal characteristics such as prior mental health diagnoses and changes in leisure activities.
Hispanic participants in the United States had 1.23 times the likelihood of screening positive for depression (95% CI 1.11-1.36) and 1.23 times the likelihood of exhibiting indications of anxiety (95% CI 1.12-1.34) compared to white participants.
Other participant groupings, such as Black healthcare professionals, who had higher probabilities of depression and anxiety than white healthcare workers, also showed similar results, as did Black and Asian participants in the U.K.
The authors draw the conclusion that minority communities in the U.S. and the U.K. have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19’s mental health burden and will continue to suffer long after the pandemic is thought to have ended.
The authors further say: “The early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted daily life.” According to our research, minorities in the U.S. and the U.K. were more likely to screen positively for sadness and anxiety.
As we reorganize healthcare systems to put the long-term effects of this disease first, this shows that people of color bear a disproportionate weight on mental health issues. “