Connect with us

Community

Black People & PTSD

Published

on

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.

Conclusion

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.

References

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

Community

Applicants Sought for Community Action Advisory Board

Published

on

By

The City of San Antonio is accepting applications from individuals interested in serving on the Community Action Advisory Board (CAAB). The CAAB advises the City’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and San Antonio City Council on needs, concerns, and goals of low-income persons; recommends policies; and advises on the allocation of federal Community Services Block Grant funds. The CAAB also oversees key responsibilities regarding the Head Start Policy Council of the City’s Head Start Program for its benefit and effective governance. DHS  also administers the Community Action Program for the city and Bexar County. 

“This is an opportunity for residents to get involved & make a difference in the lives of low-income children & families in our community,” stated Minerva Hernandez, Family Support Coordinator with the Department of Human Services.

Applications will be accepted for representative(s) of low-income individuals and families in the following areas: 

  • Area I – City Council Districts 1 & 2 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area II – City Council District 5
  • Area III – City Council Districts 3 & 4 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area IV – City Council Districts 6 & 7 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area V – City Council Districts 8, 9 &10 and Adjacent Bexar County area

Applicants interested volunteering on the CAAB, must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of a selected service area and committed to serving low-income individuals and families living in poverty.

The Board is comprised of 15 members: five elected public officials (four City Council Members and one County Commissioner), five representatives of the community’s low-income residents, and five representatives from private groups and organizations.

Interested residents can apply with the Office of the City Clerk on the City’s website. If you have any questions or need assistance with your application, please contact Nancy Cano, Boards & Commissions Coordinator, at (210) 207-7257 or via email at Nancy.cano@sanantonio.gov.

The deadline to submit applications is Tuesday, Dec.6, 2022, by 4 p.m. with the Office of the City Clerk.

In the event more than one candidate applies for Low-Income Representative from the same area CAAB Elections for Low Income Representative(s) will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the following polling locations:

  • Area I – West End Park Senior Center – 1226 N.W. 18th St., 78207
  • Area II – Normoyle Senior Center – 700 Culberson, 78225    
  • Area III – Willie Cortez Senior Center – 5512 S.W. Military Drive, 78242
  • Area IV – Doris Griffin Senior One-Stop Center – 6157 N.W. Loop 410, Suite 120, 78238
  • Area V – Northeast Senior Center – 4135 Thousand Oaks, 78217

Each election site will have paper ballots available with the name of the candidates for each area. For information about the Community Action Advisory Board Contact Liaison: Minerva Hernandez LMSW at 210-207-5917 or email: Minerva.hernandez@sanantonio.gov.

Continue Reading

Community

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

Published

on

By

Texas’ Biggest Christmas Celebration Offers the Largest Light Display in the State and an Exciting New Christmas Nativity Musical Extravaganza

Beginning November 10, SeaWorld San Antonio is trimming the tree and hanging the lights for the return of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, the biggest Christmas event in Texas. For 42 days the marine life park will transform into a holiday wonderland featuring millions of sparkling lights, decorations, holiday festivities, and scrumptious holiday treats and eats. Along with returning favorites, the park will premiere the brand-new O Wondrous Night, an exciting, multi-faceted live action musical!

NEW O Wondrous Night Stage ShowThe greatest story never told – the story of the Nativity as seen through the eyes of the animals who experienced it – makes its debut this year at SeaWorld San Antonio. This magical experience features amazing puppetry, more than 30 inspirational carols, and dance set against the backdrop of the very first Christmas. This glorious live stage show celebration will charm, entertain, and delight people from all walks of life as they experience the true glory of the season. Singing, special effects, and holiday spirit combine to make O Wondrous Night yet another reason to make SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, the largest in all of Texas, an annual part of family holiday traditions for years to come.

NEW Christmas Party Zone, Snowman Jam – SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration may be a winter wonderland, but things will heat up at the holiday party zone! Amongst the many holiday areas to visit, guests can catch a special Christmas vibe at Snowman Jam. A DJ spinning the sounds and Festive Flurries fill the air with snowflakes at this club-like section of the park, all centered around the new Frozen Fusion Bar that will serve up specialty cocktails like the Mistletoe Margarita!

Returning Favorites– Guests can renew holiday traditions and encounter 12 uniquely themed holiday areas. Guests will experience the joy of the season while enjoying returning favorites like millions of festive twinkling lights and displays around the entire park, meeting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, watching the Sesame Street Christmas Parade, or strolling through Christmas Market and visiting Santa himself. Park-goers can also savor the season with chef-created holiday treats served up in cozy holiday settings with visits from Santa, Rudolph, and a cast of memorable holiday characters. Returning holiday festivities include:

  • Twelve Yuletide-Themed Areas – A country Christmas can be discovered at Christmas Market, with a unique Christmas tree made entirely of cowboy boots. Park goers can also stroll through Christmas Cove, a 1950s-inspired wonderland, as well as enjoy a whimsical Snowman Village where they can pose with life-sized snowmen. Additionally, guests can make their way through nine more holiday themed areas featuring millions of lights adorning every corner, putting guests in the ultimate holiday mood.
  • Holiday Shows and Festive Animal Presentations – World class entertainment awaits those craving the holiday spirit. Enjoy a bit of Fiesta flare with the Merry Mariachis, hear the story of the first Christmas told through song in Peace on Earth, and be inspired by the festive beluga whale and pacific whitesided dolphin presentation, Ocean Discovery: A Splash of Christmas set to the music of The Nutcracker.
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Friends – Guests can immerse themselves in the story of Rudolphwhen strolling past life-size story book vignettes featuring the classic tale and can meet beloved characters including Rudolph, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and Bumble.
  • The Sesame Street Christmas Parade features fantastic, festively decorated floats with show-stopping performances that celebrate the magic of the holiday season! The whole family will experience an energetic Christmas celebration with Sesame Street friends, including Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Bert, Ernie, and more. Families are sure to sing, dance, and be merry with their favorite furry friends!
  • Coca-Cola presents Fireside S’mores and a Holiday Scavenger Hunt – Families and friends alike can create memories as they cozy up around a toasty fire and experience the tradition of roasting marshmallows for delicious holiday smores. Afterwards, guests have the chance to become Insta-famous and featured on billboards around San Antonio by participating in a jolly photo scavenger hunt. Upon completion guests will receive a Coca-Cola theme festive holiday prize.
  • Festive Food and Beverages – Plenty of holiday inspired treats and eats will satisfy cravings with seasonal candies and baked goods, festive funnel cakes, piping hot chocolate and coffee, and winter cocktails including and the NEW Santa-Gria and the Grinch Cocktail with melon liqueur, and rum! Those wanting a traditional holiday meal can join Mrs. Claus in her kitchen for Dinner with Santa as she serves up a Christmas feast and welcomes the big guy to read stories to the kids! Families can also delight in holiday food and fun as they Dine with Rudolph and Friends. (Reservations required for Dinner with Santa and Dine with Rudolph.)

No visit to SeaWorld is complete without spending time with some incredible marine animals. Guests have the opportunity to view, engage with, and learn about everything from orcas, dolphins, belugas, sharks, and puffins; to tropical fish, sea turtles, birds, and more.

Continue Reading

Community

Neighborhood Leadership Academy 

Published

on

By

Applications Now Open for City of San Antonio’s Neighborhood Leadership Academy

The City of San Antonio is now accepting applications for the eighth cohort of the Neighborhood Leadership Academy. The Neighborhood Leadership Academy equips residents with the skills, knowledge and resources to better advocate for their neighborhoods. There is no fee to apply or participate.

The Neighborhood Leadership Academy brings together neighbors from all parts of San Antonio to learn more about how their local government works. This valuable program also helps our neighbors learn how they can make their voices heard for issues that are important to their own communities,” said Alanna Reed, City of San Antonio Director of Communications and Engagement. 

Participants in the program will hear from guest speakers and City staff about pressing local issues and how they can get involved and share feedback. They will also participate in group discussions, networking opportunities and a specially curated behind the scenes tour of City facilities and services. Past participants have included neighborhood association leaders and residents who are interested in leading their own association or community group. 

Applications are open to anyone who lives within San Antonio city limits. There is no cost to participate in this program. Program sessions will take place once a month from January 2023 through June 2023. The deadline to apply is November 10, 2022.

For more information or to apply, visit www.saspeakup.com/2022NLA101.

Interested residents can also email Neighborhoods@sanantonio.gov or call 210-207-6920.

Continue Reading

Hot Topics

Buy Now!

Own Your Part
of History!

BLACK

BOOK

Yearbook