As gun violence reaches record levels in the US, an underlying trauma may be building up

By Deidre McPhillips, CNN | April 17, 2023

Former Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellow Leah Brogan spoke to CNN about the ways that gun violence incidents can spread and reaggravate trauma, even for those who are not directly involved.

As more communities reel from deadly mass shootings – including Dadeville, Alabama, where four people were killed and 28 injured at a Sweet 16 birthday party over the weekend – there’s evidence that the trauma of gun violence in the United States is taking a collective toll on the nation’s mental health.

Research published this year suggests that the negative effects that mass shootings can have on mental health may extend beyond the survivors and community directly affected to a much broader population.[…]

“We know that exposure through the media – which can happen across many different outlets, with the swipe of a finger or a ding on your phone – to some type of traumatic event can result in someone experiencing an acute stress reaction and can trigger underlying post-traumatic stress they may have from something else,” said Leah Brogan, a psychologist who works at both the Center for Violence Prevention and the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“So certainly, that constant exposure can be escalating and activating people even when they don’t experience something directly.”

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