Community violence has been recognized as a major public health problem impacting both youth and adults. Some studies show that between 50% and 96% of urban youth have witnessed some type of community violence in their lifetime. Exposure to community violence is associated with a variety of emotional and behavioral problems including: PTSD, anxiety, depression, internalizing symptoms, suicidal behaviors, antisocial behavior, social withdrawal, substance use, and academic problems.
What is community violence? Community violence is the violence that happens between unrelated individuals, generally outside the home. Some examples of community violence can be:
-Fights among groups
Ways we can prevent community violence:
-Changing social norms through street outreach/violence interruption programs
-Changing the physical environment through Crime Prevention organizations
-Preventing future risk and lessening the harms of violence exposure through hospital- community partnerships
-Strengthening economic support through job training and job programs
-Connecting youth to caring adults and activities such as mentorships
Ways to cope with community violence:
–Know the facts. Do not get caught up in rumors!
–Minimize media. Its okay to take a step back from the news for a mental and/or emotional break. Reading or watching the news too much can make you feel worse.
–Make a plan with loved ones. Talk with friends and family about what to do in case of an emergency. Having a plan can help you feel more at ease and in control.
–Distract yourself. Do things that you can control like working, exercise, socializing with f riends/family, etc.
-Be healthy. Stress can affect your health, so take care of your body with adequate meals, exercise and sleep!