Stop Youth Violence
March 19-23, 2018 is National Youth Violence Prevention Week. Let’s talk about ways to prevent youth violence in our communities. According to the Center for Disease Control, youth violence can take many different forms. Examples include fights, bullying, threats with weapons, gang-related violence, and school shootings. A young person can be involved with youth violence as a victim, offender, or witness. Click here for the CDC’s Comprehensive Technical Package for the Prevention of Youth Violence and Associated Risk Behaviors. It seems that youth violence has been rapidly growing in recent years and many parents feel helpless on what to do to protect and prepare their child for the worst case scenario.
Here are some steps to help prevent youth violence.
1. Promote a safe and supportive home environment. Take the time to talk to your child about school and other social activities. Have an open line of communication so they feel comfortable expressing their feelings. Provide youth with opportunities to discuss and develop healthy intimate relationships.
2. Work with schools to proactively prevent violence. Help to fully implement evidence-based youth violence prevention programs. Promote on-site screening and intervention, including mental health services for trauma, loss, use of alcohol and other drugs, and abuse.
3. Organize your local community to raise awareness about the risk of youth violence. Help provide information on local resources for families in need. Strategically engage in youth development approaches. Reduce access to alcohol. Reduce the proportion of persons living in homes with firearms that are loaded and unlocked.
4. Strengthen community standards against violence, harassment, aggression, racism, sexism, heterosexism and bullying. Endorse and promote services and programs for youth ages 11 to 21. Advocate for funding to expand financing and reimbursement for preventive and primary adolescent health services.
Together, we can work together to make a safer environment for our youth. Don’t avoid the conversation. Talk to your child or teen about their concerns, worries, and fears. If needed, seek a mental health professional to give your loved one the tools they need to process emotions and experiences in a healthy manner. So you live…safe and sound.