Gun violence is a severe nationwide issue, and media outlets have been full of mass shooting coverage. In 2021, a Oxford High School shooting killed four people and injured seven others after a 15-year-old student shot several students and teachers. On May 24, 2022, 19 children from Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, were killed by one of the most fatal shootings in the state.
Although it is difficult to pinpoint whether acts of gun violence result from mental illness, survivors of such occurrences may experience mental health issues, according to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.
Depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD, intrusive thoughts, sleep issues, and personality changes are just a few of the mental health repercussions that can result from gun violence. Furthermore, the trauma caused by gun violence may spread across the community beyond those who were shot or wounded. Adverse mental health consequences can affect everyone, including family members, friends, neighbors, communities, first responders, and healthcare professionals.
With such high numbers of shootings and constant fear, many live with the anxiety that an unfortunate event can happen to anyone at any time.
In 2022, there were about 100 deaths and injuries from firearms daily. Jeanae M. Hopgood, a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Pennsylvania, says exposure to violent content impacts the brain and one’s ability to discern between fiction and reality. It’s one thing to see violence happening in films and television. Still, it’s a different beast when you’re directly or indirectly, such as through news and media, seeing violence happening in everyday settings that one would ordinarily deem safe, for example, churches, malls, movie theaters, schools, or in H’s case, the subway.
She says: “Consistent exposure to violence in this way puts the body and mind in a state of anxiety and fear, which can manifest socially and somatically. In terms of mental health, anxiety disorders, avoidance of highly populated areas, avoidance of highly publicized social events, etc., are common ways mental and social health is impacted.”
Read more at HealthNews.com.