Psychiatrist Promotes Block-by-Block Approach
by Lesley R. Chinn
According to the American Psychological Association, about 71 percent of youth say they are interested in learning about the warning signs of violence. One in twelve highschool students is threatened or injured with a weapon each year. With all of the statistics, models for intervention, medications and diagnoses, getting back to basics is a start. “If we want to solve this problem, we need to rebuild our villages by starting block clubs and going to these schools to start strong parentteacher associations…,” said Dr. Carl Bell, president/CEO of the Community Mental Health Council.
Although people don’t necessarily develop long-term psychiatric disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after a traumatic event, it can still traumatize the person as well as families and communities. However, for victims, constantly stressing over a traumatic event, increases a person’s chances of developing a serious disorder by as much as 30 percent said Bell. Bell added people need to start building blockby-block in order to protect the youth from violence since the whole community is affected. “You don’t put the burden on the child to fix the problem. It’s the community, family, and school’s responsibility, not the child’s responsibility. We’re supposed to be protecting the children,” he said.
On December 17, a group of parents who have lost children to gun violence, will be joined by youth city-wide along with a number of prominent leaders including Rev. Father Michael Pfleger; Mayor Richard M. Daley; Min. Louis Farrakhan and Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan. At that time, the community will come together to hold an anti-violence rally downtown at the State of Illinois Building, 100 W. Randolph at Noon. Organizers, calling for an end to violence, plan to urge legislators to pass common sense gun laws and equal school funding reform measures.
Community involvement is a cure for the issue, said Bell. “When children are given a sense of safety, all of those horrible things that happen don’t stick,” he added. For more information about how to participate and to begin organizing your block against violence, call Saint Sabina Church at (773) 483-4300.