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Matthias MS, Adams J, Burgess DJ, Daggy J, Gowan TM, Perkins AJ, Eliacin J. Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Black Veterans' Mental Health: A Qualitative Investigation. Journal of health care for the poor and underserved. 2022 Jan 1; 33(3):1275-1290.
Although the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black Americans are well-documented, we know little about its effects on their day-to-day lives and sense of wellbeing, especially for those who have served in the military. We conducted qualitative interviews with 21 Black veterans to understand their experiences with the pandemic and administered questionnaires about mental health and pandemic impact. Questionnaires indicated mild depression, moderate anxiety and loneliness, and pandemic effects on social support and health care. Interviews revealed that heightened anxiety and stress were driven by not trusting others to take the pandemic seriously, workplace anxiety, comorbidities, and the pandemic''s pronounced effects on Black communities. Participants shared insights into these effects, including lack of caution on the part of some and the role of systemic racism. Findings enhance our understanding of how Black veterans have experienced the pandemic and may have important implications for other underserved groups.