July has already seen 11 mass shootings. The emotional scars won’t heal easily

July has seen 11 mass shootings in the U.S., which along with causing physical harm and fatalities, are also causing long-lasting emotional scars and mental health issues.

The current situation: This month alone, 11 mass shootings have occurred, leading to numerous deaths and injuries.
* Shootings in Philadelphia, Fort Worth, and Baltimore’s Brooklyn Homes neighborhood are among the incidents, which have contributed to 346 mass shootings since the beginning of the year.

The bigger picture: Mass shootings and gun violence have become a major public health issue, causing more than 21,000 deaths this year, of which 12,210 were suicides.
* The impacts extend beyond those directly hit, with a larger number of people left grieving, traumatized, and at a risk of long-term mental health issues.
* Communities are forever changed by such incidents of violence, linking their names to mass violence much like Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City, and Columbine.

Unseen impacts: Apart from those directly impacted, gun violence influences community members and leads to mental health issues even if they weren’t directly involved, such as children within a five-block-radius of a shooting.
* Psychiatrist Julie Kaplow notes that people in affected communities often demonstrate symptoms of “acute stress”, such as hyper-vigilance, trouble sleeping or eating, and nervousness to leave loved ones.
* Although many recover from these symptoms over time, around 25% continue to exhibit long-term symptoms.

The need for support: Long-term bereavement support and social and mental health support are critical in helping communities recover from gun violence.
* Children absorbing the anxiety of caregivers constitute a high-risk group for developing long-term mental health issues following gun violence.
* These support services are especially essential in communities of color and for those with preexisting mental health problems.

View original article on NPR

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