July: End Community Violence 

What is community violence? 

According to the CDC, community violence happens between unrelated individuals, who may or may not know each other, generally outside the home. Examples include assaults or fights among groups and shootings in public places, such as schools and on the streets. Research indicates that youth and young adults (ages 10-34), particularly those in communities of color, are disproportionately impacted. Children from diverse communities could be severely impacted by this type of violence, even at a very young age, this trauma could leave sequels of violence that can impact their future. This month, Parents Anonymous® and Parents Anonymous® will focus on promoting mental health support for families in communities affected by violence.   

How does it affect us? 

Community violence can cause significant physical injuries and mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Living in a community experiencing violence can also prevent people from walking or bicycling in their neighborhoods to using local recreational parks. All of the previous activities are considered healthy, and recreational for children. This type of violence negatively impacts the growth and development of our communities. 

Engage community members in prevention efforts 

Community leaders can work collaboratively with community residents and those impacted by violence, such as young people with lived experience of violence, to develop violence prevention efforts. Partnering with community members to select, implement, and monitor prevention activities helps ensure that the efforts are community driven and effective at preventing and reducing community violence. 

How can parents help? 

In a community experiencing violence it is not uncommon that children develop problem behaviors as a result of that trauma. These types of behaviors need understanding and patience from parents. Be sure the child understands that you are there to listen. It is important to give children a safe space to talk about trauma and answer their questions with honesty. When in need of guidance don’t hesitate to ask for help from friends, family, community leaders and call/text the California Parent & Youth Helpline at 855-427-2736 or live chat at caparentyouthhelpline.org, 8:00AM – 8:00PM 7 days a week for free evidence-based emotional support. At Parents Anonymous® | Parents Anonymous®, we believe Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength®.  

For more from the CDC, find an article here