Black People, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the Risk of Death From Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Nationwide —Here are some facts: Black people have been found to be more likely to die from COVID-19 infection than white people, both in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Black people also have a higher rate of PTSD diagnosis than white people. PTSD can result in suppression of the immune system. Immunosuppression is associated with a higher risk of death from COVID-19. It is thus not unreasonable to question whether PTSD-induced immunosuppression is contributing to the elevated risk of dying from COVID-19 amongst black people.
Data reveals that Black people are more than four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white people in England and Wales and that even after adjusting for age, socioeconomic conditions and prior health, the figures show that Black people remain twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white people in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics.1 Some suggest sickle cell disease is the explanation, however this is unlikely, being already in a shielded group they are likely to have little or no ongoing expo-sure to COVID-19. Other contributary factors which have been highlighted are obesity, over-crowding and frontline working, however these are likely to be already adjusted for within socioeconomic status.
This article proposes that PTSD-induced immunosuppression contributes to raised mortality from COVID-19. PTSD is a condition which occurs after a traumatic experience where symptoms persist of reliving the distressing event and there is hypervigilance, numbing, mood changes including negativity about the self, the world and the future. There is avoidance of people and situations that act as reminders of the event and sleep and concentration disturbance. Physical symptoms including Neurological, Respiratory and Cardiovascular symptoms also occur in PTSD.2
What is the evidence that Black people have higher rates of PTSD?
The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey: Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, England, 2014 found doubling of the rate of PTSD amongst black adults at 8.3 per compared to white adults at 4.2 though assumed that the differences could not be relied on because of the small sizes involved.3
One study found that when PTSD affects US race/ethnic minorities, it is usually untreated and likely to become chronic and persistent and suggested that the large disparities in treatment indicate a need for investment in accessible and culturally sensitive treatment options.4 A separate two year follow up study found that African Americans with PTSD experience high number of traumas and most do not receive treatment.5
Findings from large-scale national studies suggest African Americans have a 9.1% prevalence rate for PTSD.6 This suggests that almost one in ten Black people becomes traumatized. This is an underestimate due to known under-diagnosis of PTSD in black people.7 Studies of racial discrimination and race-related stress have shown that when an individual reports psychological distress from racism, trauma was often not considered.8
Why would Black people be at increased risk of PTSD?
In addition to traumatic experiences that a person of any race or ethnicity might face, race-specific traumas include micro-aggressions and the erosion of a fundamental requirement for human beings – a sense of belonging. A striking example of that undermining of belonging was witnessed by the Windrush generation in the UK. Black people face challenges to a sense of belonging to desirable social, housing, occupational groups and on a wider scale there are challenges to the black person’s right to belong in a country such as the UK, a crude example being the ‘go back to where you came from’ statement. A sense of belonging is an intrinsic human need. The psychologist Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs defined self-actualization and self-esteem as requiring the secure foundations created by a sense of belonging.
Another often overlooked contributory factor to the large prevalence of traumas affecting Black people is Intergenerational transmission of trauma. Parent-child attachment patterns are known to replicate through generations within families. Going back to slavery and post-slavery eras, forced black familial disruption was part of the mechanism that enabled forced labour and enrichment of slave owners and others and this involved brutal disregard for the integrity of the black family unit by white oppressors. Yet another overlooked factor is vicarious trauma and witnessing shootings of unarmed black people can give rise to a sense of threat to the black viewer’s sense of their own safety.
What is the evidence that PTSD suppresses the immune system?
A study of 1,550 male workers with a previous history of PTSD concluded that PTSD produces immunosuppression and has long-term implications for health.9 This finding is now widely accepted amongst mental health professionals and a questionnaire commonly used as a tool to diagnose PTSD is the IES-r.10 A cut-off point of 37 and above in the IES-r is commonly accepted by mental health workers as associated with immunosuppression.
Treatment of PTSD
PTSD in Black people is treatable with a growing number of psychotherapies including prolonged exposure therapy, EMDR, cognitive processing therapy, somatic experiencing, if delivered by psychotherapists with training and knowledge of diversity matters. Medication is sometimes but not always required.
There now exists evidence for higher death rates of Black people from COVID-19 compared to White people as well as evidence that Black people have a higher rate of PTSD diagnosis than White people and furthermore that PTSD is associated with immunosuppression and we know that immunosuppression is associated with a higher risk of death from COVID-19. The proposed association described here between PTSD-induced immunosuppression and increased risk of death from COVID-19 needs to be explored further and in addition, high PTSD rates in black people need to be recognised and treated as both a mental and physical health priority.
1. Office of National Statistics. Release date: 7 May 2020. Coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by ethnic group, England and Wales: 2 March 2020 to 10 April 2020 obtained on 12 May 2020
2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Publishing
3. Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. (2014) retrieved on 11 May 2020 from https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/health/mental-health/adults-with-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-in-the-month-prior-to-survey/latest
4. Roberts, A.L., Gilman, S.E., Breslau, J.N., Breslau, N., & Koenen, K.C. (2011). Race/ethnic differences in exposure to traumatic events, development of post-traumatic stress disorder, and treatment-seeking for post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States. Psychol Med.
5. Pérez Benítez, C., Sibrava, N., Kohn-Wood, L., Bjornsson, A., Zlotnick, C., Weisberg, R. & Keller, M. (2014). Posttraumatic stress disorder in African Americans: A two year follow-up study. Psychiatry Research-neuroimaging Volume: 220, Issue: 1, pp 376-383
6. Himle, J.A., Baser, R.E., Taylor, R.J., Campbell, R. D. & Jackson J.S. (2009). Anxiety disorders among African Americans, blacks of Caribbean descent, and non-Hispanic whites in the United States, Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23(5): 578-590.
7. Williams M., Malcoun E. & Bahojb Nouri L. (2015) Assessment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder with African Americans. In: Benuto L., Leany B. (eds) Guide to Psychological Assessment with African Americans. Springer, New York, NY
8. Carter, R. (2007). Racism and Psychological and Emotional Injury: Recognizing and Assessing Race-Based Traumatic Stress. The counselling psychologist Volume: 35 issue: 1, page(s): 13-105
9. Noriyuki Kawamura, Yoshiharu Kim & Nozomu Asukai (2001) Suppression of Cellular Immunity in Men with a past history of Posttraumatic stress disorder. Retrieved on 11 May 2020 from https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.158.3.484
10. Weiss, D.S., & Marmar, C.R. (1997). The Impact of Event Scale-Revised. In J.P. Wilson, & T.M. Keane (Eds.), Assessing Psychological Trauma and PTSD: A Practitioner’s Handbook (pp. 399-411). New York: Guilford Press
Source: Anne Coker
Joe Webb Sr. passes away
Joe Webb Sr. Longest serving SATX politician D2 Councilman passes away
On Saturday, September 17, 2021 Joe Webb Sr passed away at Metropolitan Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Born in Beeville Texas in in 1935. It was in Beeville that Mr. Webb learned the value of community. He graduated from High School in 1952 and married Frances Dee Toliver in 1953. In 1955 Joe Webb Sr moved back to San Antonio. He began his work at the YMCA in 1957. During these years Joe Webb began to understand the power of higher education and what it could mean for his family financially. He attended San Antonio College and St. Mary’s University.
In the late 1960’s Joe Webb Sr. began his career with HEB. Charles Butt traveled from Corpus Christi Texas to personally hire Joe Webb Sr. In 1969 he entered the HEB Managerial program. He then became the manager of several HEB grocery stores. Most notably the first African American to manager HEB store #1 and the East Side flagship HEB on N. New Braunfels.
Joe Webb’s relationship with San Antonio’s East Side began with his employment at the YMCA. There he met and networked with many of the city’s movers and shakers. They were impressed with his ability to effectively communicate and express the needs of the people within his neighborhood. It was here that he was encouraged to use his gift to seek greater employment opportunities and political office. Joe Webb’s campaign began as all grass roots campaigns do. The use of family and friends to make phone calls and knock on doors, he spoke at various Church’s and public gathering. Soon his idea of a bigger and more dynamic East Side caught on and in 1977 the East Side cast their ballots for Joe Webb Sr as their representative City Councilman for District 2. Mr. Webb would retain this seat through many elections, finally ending his City Council career in 1991. Those years between 1977 and 1991 were years of great change not just for the East Side but for the City of San Antonio at large. Joe Webb served on the City Council with names are we are still familiar with today. His contemporaries included former San Antonio Mayor and United States HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, former TX St. Representative, Senator, Mayor and currently Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff as well as former Mayor and Author Lila Cockrell.
PRIDE IN THE EAST SIDE
While in and out of office, Joe Webb used his name and clout to support and encourage many East Side causes. He owned and operated his own grocery store on the East Side. He was an early supporter of the MLK celebration, and he helped to secure the Alamodome. He has been awarded numerous times for his contributions to San Antonio. In 1992 The City of San Antonio renamed Durango Bridge the Joe Webb Bridge. In 1995 Ruth Jones McClendon read into the City Council minutes a proclamation honoring Joe Webb Sr. for his service to the community. 2016 saw then Councilman Alan Warrick II award Joe Webb Sr. the Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2017 the Bexar County Historical Society interviewed and entered his biography into their official database. Joe Webb Sr. was a Minister of the Gospel, a lifetime member of the NAACP as well as a Grand Master of the Masonic Masons.
In 1999 Frances Webb passed away and Joe Webb Sr, became a widow. He later married current wife, Mrs. Barbara Webb. The couple remained an active part of the community and Joe Webb Sr. continued to engage in East Side politics through speaking engagements and support of various District 2 candidates and Councilpersons.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Announces New Collaboration to Eliminate Inequities
− New collaboration with Black EyeCare Perspective sets sights to drive more equity among eye care professionals in optometry
− First major eye health company to sign 13% Promis
Johnson & Johnson Vision*, a global leader in eye health and part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies**, today announced a collaboration with Black EyeCare Perspective, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to redefining the color of the eyecare industry 1% at a time. As part of the collaboration, Johnson & Johnson Vision signed the 13% Promise, an initiative to increase equity and representation in the eye care industry and in optometry schools by increasing the number of Black students to mirror the 13% of Black people in the U.S. population.
According to data from Black EyeCare Perspective, only 3.2% of students and 3.8% of faculty in optometry colleges are Black or African American, and this number drops to only 1.8% among practicing optometrists. Johnson & Johnson Vision is the first major eye health company to sign the 13% Promise, furthering a long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion through awareness, education, and empowerment in collaboration with associations, public and community organizations.
Johnson & Johnson Vision will contribute to the 13% Promise by continuing to:
- Support sponsorships and new programs to improve representation of people of color in optometry.
- Bring more diversity and equity into the eye care industry.
- Create more culturally relevant information and eye health education materials.
“As one of the largest eye health companies, we have an opportunity to drive change and bring more diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry for the greater good of the many patients and doctors we serve,” said Thomas Swinnen, President, North America, Johnson & Johnson Vision***. “Our partnership with Black EyeCare Perspective is one of the many ways we can further support the future of optometry and work together to create quality, equitable experiences along with healthier outcomes across communities.”
To learn more about Johnson & Johnson Vision visit www.jjvision.com.
About Johnson & Johnson Vision*
At Johnson & Johnson Vision, part of Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, we have a bold ambition: to change the trajectory of eye health around the world. Through our operating companies, we deliver innovation that enables eye care professionals to create better outcomes for patients throughout their lives, with products and technologies that address unmet needs including refractive error, cataracts and dry eye. In communities with greatest need, we work in collaboration to expand access to quality eye care, and we are committed to helping people see better, connect better and live better. Visit us at www.jjvision.com. Follow @JNJVision on Twitter and Johnson & Johnson Vision on LinkedIn.
About Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies**
At Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, we are helping people live their best lives. Building on more than a century of expertise, we tackle pressing healthcare challenges, and take bold steps that lead to new standards of care while improving people’s healthcare experiences. In surgery, orthopedics, vision and interventional solutions, we are helping to save lives and paving the way to a healthier future for everyone, everywhere.
Claris Launches Entrepreneur Training Program
Claris Launches Entrepreneur Training Program with First Partner EonXI, Focused on Improving Tech Diversity Through Low Code
Claris International Inc., an Apple company, today announced a groundbreaking initiative with Venture Fund and Startup Studio, EonXI – combining the power of low-code software development, business training, mentorship, and community networking with one unified goal: expand diversity in technology and business ownership.
The lack of diversity in technology and Black-owned startups is well-documented and long-standing. According to Pew Research, Black workers comprise 11% of all employed adults, but just 5% of engineers and architects, and 7% of workers in computer occupations. Entrepreneurship within the Black community also struggled this past year – 40% of businesses that closed due to the pandemic were Black-owned, compared to just 20% of all active U.S. businesses. Finally, data released by McKinsey also shows that 42% of Black workers currently hold jobs that could be subject to automation by 2030.
“The need to invest and increase diversity in tech broadly, and in Black entrepreneurs specifically, has never been greater,” said Claris CEO Brad Freitag. “At the same time, the massive growth and tremendous power of low-code technologies represent some of the most significant opportunities to close this gap that we’ve seen in generations. This partnership with EonXI affirms a deep commitment on the part of both companies to not just talk about or study these problems, but to give Black entrepreneurs what they need to be successful, both as business owners and software developers.”
Gartner forecasts that, by 2024, 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools for IT application development. In part, this is due to the fact that current U.S. demand for IT workers stands at roughly 500,000 open positions, but with only 50,000 computer science graduates per year. This translates to a significant gap not only in tech diversity, but pure IT talent – a gap which can be filled with a more diverse workforce educated in low code.
“Narrowing the racial wealth gap starts with access to technology and resources, hence why we are building communities of diverse developers and diverse entrepreneurs,” said Aaron Wilson, General Partner at EonXI.
The Low Code Accelerator program from EonXI and Claris will provide graduates with the operational expertise and mentorship to form and scale a business as well as technical training on the Claris low-code development platform. Mentorship, both business and technical, will be provided by a large network of program partners, including Cris Ippolite, a 25-year Claris developer and President of iSolutions, as well as Cathy House, 15-year entrepreneurship Adjunct Professor in the Executive MBA program at Howard University.
“Every day, I work with brilliant Black entrepreneurs who have industry-changing ideas, but no technical training to bring those ideas to life through software,” said Cathy House. “While we must invest in closing the educational gaps that led us to this point, I see tremendous opportunity in low-code software development to empower these entrepreneurs today. The team at EonXI is world-class not only in the companies they help build, but in the partnerships they forge that help them accomplish their mission. Working with an organization that has the pedigree and history of Claris to lift up Black entrepreneurs is a tremendous win, and I’m proud to be a part of this program.”
With today’s launch, The Low Code Accelerator program is accepting applications for the program’s first class. Applications are due by October 15, 2021, and individuals interested in learning more about the program can visit the Claris website.
About Claris International Inc.
Claris International Inc. is the creator of the world’s leading low-code development platform, offering a suite of services that drives digital transformation in companies from every business sector. Best known for its FileMaker app development solution, the company has more than one million active users globally across SMBs and the Fortune 500. Claris, an Apple company, has an unmatched record of business success for more than 20 profitable years. Claris is headquartered in California with operations worldwide, including London, Paris, Munich, Tokyo, Beijing, and Sydney.
EonXI Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on investing in innovative founders and disruptive Web 3.0 companies. EonXI’s domain expertise includes but is not limited to, blockchain, gaming, interactive media & artificial intelligence. The EonXI portfolio consists of early-stage companies with a focus on underlying technology. With access to a robust limited partner network consisting of illustrious executives, family offices, and top-tier influencers, strategic partners & consumers can be reached in a matter of seconds. EonXI Ventures is the true definition of going beyond the traditional venture check.
The EonXI Startup Studio is the incubation engine of EonXI, where concepts are created, developed, and scaled into disruptive businesses in the Web 3.0 ecosystem. With a robust developer community and access to top resources, the company helps elevate the best ideas from pre-seed to market and beyond. Upon finding product-market fit, the team at EonXI Studio then activates a deep network of other founders, influencers, advisors, investors, and talent to continue to support founding teams throughout the life of the business.
Change is Brewing Across the Nation!
Joe Webb Sr. passes away
Johnson & Johnson Vision Announces New Collaboration to Eliminate Inequities
Video Surfaces in Ahmaud Arbery Case
Bushwick Bill, Of Houston Rap Group Geto Boys, Dead At 52
Botswana’s First Skyscraper and Tallest Building
Entertainment2 weeks ago
15th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour
Movies7 days ago
Special Report: SAAACAM – The 24th Discussion
Tech7 days ago
New research from Karat and Howard University
Community1 week ago
BNC Set to Launch AMplified with Aisha Mills
Community7 days ago
Claris Launches Entrepreneur Training Program
Education6 days ago
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.® Continue Giving HBCUs A Financial Boost
Food5 days ago
VIOLIFE® Plant Grants Awards $100K to Five Black-Owned Restaurants
Community3 days ago
Joe Webb Sr. passes away