Few studies have explored the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) MSW students during the pandemic. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to examine the experiences of BIPOC MSW students in a predominantly white institution in the Northeast during the pandemic and how it affected their mental health. Findings presented were drawn from 29 students who participated in online surveys and focus groups. About 69% of our sample experienced psychological distress, with higher proportions among those who identified as Latine/Latinx, womxn, straight, first-generation, full-time and part-time students, and clinical students. Qualitative findings highlighted three main themes: (1) the experiences and needs of white MSW students were prioritized, (2) inconsistencies in the response to the pandemic forced students to advocate for themselves in their classes and field placements, and (3) virtual learning provided a reprieve for students from experiencing racism that helped improve their perceived well-being. Findings indicate that MSW programs need to commit to acknowledging how systemic racism affects the learning experiences of BIPOC MSW students, work toward dismantling these oppressive structures, and allocate resources that center the health and well-being of BIPOC students and their lived experiences.
- mental health
- social work education
- students of color
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science