Heart & Soul

Mental Wealth: COVID’s Impact on Mental Health in the Black Community

Helpful Tips to Protect Your Mental Health

By Paula Penebaker

People have been facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, including loneliness, isolation, missed milestones and increased anxiety. In addition, there are disparities in health care, such as access to health insurance and socio-economic pressures, that put Black people at even greater risk for trauma, grief and other mental health issues.

The We Can Do This campaign recently hosted a virtual event titled, “Mental Wealth: COVID’s impact on Mental Health in the Black Community.” This FREE, interactive event was hosted on Zoom and streamed live on Facebook April28.

The format offered a safe space to share lived experiences and discuss best practices to help Black families survive and thrive during COVID and beyond. Additionally, speakers explored COVID-19 vaccine education and access.

The event featured a panel of trusted Black doctors who shared information on the intersection of COVID-19 and mental wellness. They included Dr. Samira L. Brown, Primary Care Pediatrician; Dr. Kendall Jasper, Psychologist; and Dr. Byron Jasper, Primary Care Physician served as panelists.

Below you will find some helpful tips these experts shared. The event replay is available below and on



About the Panel of Experts:

Dr. Samira L. Brown is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the National Medical Association. She earned her medical degree at Harvard Medical School and completed her internship and residency in pediatrics at Boston Children’s. During the pandemic she co-founded Little Lives PPE (personal protective equipment) with two friends, another doctor and an attorney to develop practical and effective tools to help keep children and families safe. Dr. Brown has been listed as one of the Best Doctors in America® and has served as a medical expert on local and national media outlets including the TODAY show and NBC Nightly News.

Dr. Byron Jasper is the Founder and CEO of the Byja Clinic, a primary care practice in Baton Rouge, LA. He is a proud alumnus of Xavier University of Louisiana. He received his medical degree from Tulane School of Medicine and his master’s degree from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Jasper completed his family medicine residency At Baton Rouge General (BRG) Family Medicine Residency Program (FMRP) and followed this by completing two fellowships in Community Health Leadership Development at Georgetown University and HIV and Hepatitis C in Primary Care at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Kendall Jasper is a clinical psychologist in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Kendell Jasper holds his Ph.D. and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 

His professional experience includes Community Mental Health – Outpatient treatment of individuals, families, and group therapy for various rural and urban populations; substance abuse treatment for adolescents and adults; anger management and Behavior Management Training for adults and families. He is passionate about serving populations that underutilize mental health services.

Paula Penebaker is a member of the Public Relations Team for Creative Marketing Resources, a strategic marketing agency in Milwaukee and a partner of the Cobb Institute.

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