SSN Commentary

Black Men and Boys Are Especially Vulnerable to Mental Health Challenges Because of Coronavirus and Police Violence

Policy field

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University of Wisconsin-Madison

Originally published as "Black Men and Boys Are Especially Vulnerable to Mental Health Challenges Because of Coronavirus and Police Violence," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 18, 2020

Somewhere in America, a 14-year-old Black boy is playing video games in his room, and his parents are satisfied that they are keeping him safe from COVID-19. But then, in Minneapolis, George Floyd is killed by a police officer, and his parents are reminded that their son’s life could just as easily be snuffed out.

They wonder how to talk to him about the murder of yet another Black person by police; some of these killings are accompanied by the perception of justice, some are not. They wonder what exponential effects this lethal combination of a global pandemic and institutionalized racism will have on their son and how to help him manage the emotions that his still-developing brain should never have to absorb.ce Black men and boys are at greatest risk in this pandemic and beyond.Tless likely to receive appropriate care.