Public Health Rep. 2022 Sep 16:333549221121667. doi: 10.1177/00333549221121667. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: How Right Now (HRN) is an evidence-based, culturally responsive communication campaign developed to facilitate coping and resilience among US groups disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To inform the development of this campaign, we examined patterns in emotional health, stress, and coping strategies among HRN’s audiences, focusing on differences among racial and ethnic groups.
METHODS: We used a national probability panel, AmeriSpeak, to collect survey data from HRN’s priority audience members in English and Spanish at 2 time points (May 2020 and May 2021). We conducted statistical testing to examine differences between time points for each subgroup (Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic White) and differences among subgroups at each time point.
RESULTS: We found disparities in COVID-19-related mental health challenges and differences in coping strategies. Non-Hispanic Black respondents were more likely than non-Hispanic White respondents to report challenges related to the social determinants of health, such as affording food and housing (26.4% vs 9.4% in May 2020) and experiencing personal financial loss (46.6% vs 29.2% in May 2020). In May 2021, 30.6% of Hispanic respondents reported being unable to meet basic food or housing needs versus 8.2% of non-Hispanic White respondents, and 51.6% reported personal financial loss versus 26.5% of non-Hispanic White respondents.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study further illuminates what is needed to build emotional well-being pathways for people who historically have been economically and socially marginalized. Our findings underscore the need for public health interventions to provide culturally responsive mental health support to populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19 during the pandemic and into the future, with a focus on racial and ethnic disparities.