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Local COVID-19 support group provides safe space for Black community recovering from pandemic

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Posted at 7:05 PM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 09:22:54-04

CLEVELAND — Yvonka Hall still carries the stress and symptoms of COVID-19 on her shoulders after 147 days and counting.

Hall is among the many coronavirus long-haulers in the United States.

“The brain fog, the muscle aches, the chills, just not being able to remember simple words,” said Hall. "I get these chills that would start at my feet and go all the way up.”

Hall started documenting her initial COVID-19 battle on Facebook starting from day one.

“For me it was using my story to help other people heal,” said Hall.

Hundreds of days later, Hall is not just using her story on Facebook, she's sharing it with others like her in a COVID-19 support group.

“You may have symptoms that mirror other people like our symptoms in the group,” said Hall. “Being able to talk about those things and understand what someone else did, what was recommended to them, what helped them through this whole process."

Coordinator Dawn Pullin said the group is specifically for Black people and meets virtually twice a month.

The support group unpacks trauma, normalizes the fear of returning to the public and educates each other.

“This is an opportunity to provide a safe space for them, for them to tell their story and then be support,” said Pullin.

Pullin said she is a mental health professional and refers some of the group’s members to therapists and counselors.

She said that some in the group are still battling depression and anxiety, more than a year after defeating COVID-19, and her focus is to ensure people don’t suffer in silence.

“It’s a great opportunity to support, advocate and give back to our community,” said Pullin. “Letting them know that they are not alone, and that people understand. It’s different for Black people than it is for other cultures."

For more information about the group, contact the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition.

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