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Nona Brown discusses how college students have been affected by COVID-19

Nona Brown discusses how college students have been affected by COVID-19
Nona Brown

Nona Brown is the student health services coordinator at Florida Memorial University. Brown is also apart of the NAACP, which is encouraging the community to get vaccinated and boosted.

Brown spoke with rolling out about the importance of vaccinations, how mental health has been affected by COVID-19, and how she feels now that a vaccination is available.

Why is it important for Blacks to be vaccinated?

I think a lot of our young minority people here where I’m from, they’re pretty much done listening to what other people are saying. For the most part, I believe between the ages of 30 and 50, we have more of pushback than we do with 18 and older, because 18 and older are listening to the people that are 30 to 50. I can say about 60% of the Black community showed up and showed out because they wanted to be safe, and they wanted to be safe for their kids and for their grandparents, and for their parents.

How do you think the mental health of others have been affected due to COVID-19?

COVID-19 took a lot of lives, a lot of parents, grandparents, students, and kids. I think it affected their mental health more than anything else because they’re secluded in their homes when they’re used to going out. You see a lot showing up in their going-out clothes just to hang out the Walmart because that was pretty much the only thing that was open. We had to quarantine a lot of students on campus in their dorm rooms, and they’re in there with no windows and fresh air, and it affects their mental because now all they can do is think about things. We had some students that came in contact with some people and had to quarantine for about 10 days, and that took a toll on them. I was getting calls every day with them saying “Can I come out? Can I get some air? I can’t be in here. I’m going crazy.’ Our mental health counselor is here eight hours, and he sees about 20 students per day. So it really took a toll on them mentally.

How do you feel now that there is a vaccine versus when there wasn’t a vaccine?

I’ve been on the front line since day one, because I work at a university, and it never closed down. So we were open from the beginning. I was out there helping the students, helping the parents and the people in the community and I was nervous. I was really, really nervous. That’s one of the reasons why I got vaccinated myself. I feel great about it. I think that everyone should get the booster. I’m about to get my second booster shot. I feel great about it. I think more people should look into it, because the more people that are vaccinated, the less deaths we [will] have in our community.

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