- Every year, gun violence impacts 34% of the global population.
- Mental health and gun violence are closely related, with gun violence trauma affecting both the perpetrators and the victims.
Gun Violence Problems
“Gun violence” is violence committed with the use of a firearm. It is a social health hazard, with the global death toll being as high as 1,000 dead each day.
Mass shootings and gun homicides are the more common forms of gun violence in both high- and low- -income countries. These impact nations’ security and medical expenditures, as well as the mental health of citizens—especially children.
Mental Health And Gun Violence
The origins and outcomes of gun violence ripple through communities, having a long-lasting impact. Most gun violence perpetrators suffer from mental health conditions (like depression, parental neglect, abuse, etc.) and they act out their distress with firearms.
Their actions, in turn, lead to gun violence trauma in victims and, in a way, the psychological effects of gun violence covers a never-ending cycle of infliction.
Gun violence triggers several mental health conditions in victims, including:
- Stress disorders
- Substance abuse disorders
- Depressive disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic attacks
- Social withdrawal
- Self-harm and suicidal tendencies
Chethan Sathya, an American pediatric trauma surgeon, elaborated: “We have to be very careful how we talk about the link between the two … When it comes to folks with mental-health issues these public-health strategies are important because they often involve the victims themselves.”
Addressing The “twin Concerns”
Experts contend that extreme risk protection and strict gun laws comprise the key to limiting the physical hazards and the mental health effects of gun violence.
Besides this, we can also help ‘chip away’ the unnerving and dysfunctional consequences of gun violence trauma. We can:
- Help the victims avail psychiatric help for their mental health issues
- Set up emergency rooms to deal with firearm injury-outbreaks
- Help children ‘re-traumatize’ and get back to their ‘normal’ schedules
- Create awareness about mental health in general to avoid the far-ranging effects of poor mental health (like gun violence, homicide, etc.)
Mental health and gun violence are two interlinked complex issues. We should prioritize measures to prevent and limit the mental health effects of gun violence in the years to come.
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