Among all the turmoil internationally and locally, youth violence is rising. Violence witnessed by teens, as well as violence personally experienced, has become a serious public health problem. Violence is an adverse experience with potential to derail normal psychological development.
Adverse childhood experiences have been shown to have long-lasting negative impacts on both physical and emotional health.
Youth violence is common, and is becoming more so. Social media publicizes incidents of violence, and in some ways, normalizes aberrant behavior, so that adolescents come to think of physical aggression as acceptable. Nationally, homicide is the third leading cause of death for persons age 10-24, and the leading cause of death among African American youth.
Here are six strategies for you to prevent the continuation of youth violence:
Cultivate a healthy, protective family environment
Provide rich learning opportunities in early childhood
Encourage school-based activities
Connect youth to caring adults
Provide safe physical and social community spaces
Increase accessibility to mental health treatment
A pattern in these strategies is the involvement of caring adult mentors in the lives of our youth. If we're interested in the future of our community, we must invest in the well-being of our young people.
This article originally appeared on Perry Chief: Health and Wellness: Preventing youth violence