The pandemic is waning, but the mental health crisis for children isn't. And for many children of color, the full impact of the last 15 months — against a backdrop of longstanding systemic racism and inequities — may just be coming into focus.
Mahailya Effee, a 15-year-old who lives in Roxbury, says from the early days of the pandemic, she struggled to stay engaged with full-time remote school. She started to not care about her grades.
"I would wake up in the morning; I'd have my Chromebook right there in front of me," Mahailya said. "I would do the work. I just wouldn't finish it and turn it in."
Mahailya already had anxiety, and she hated being stuck in her family's apartment. Then, the pandemic really hit home in May of last year. Mahailya's grandfather died from COVID-19. She vividly remembers the moment her mother got the call.
"And I was like, 'Nah, this can't be true,' " Mahailya recalled. "So then I went in the bathroom, and ... I wasn't yelling, but I was just like, 'Why?'"