Topics: Gun Violence Prevention in California; Community Approaches to Mental Health; Kids and Anxiety
On today’s show we turn a focus on mental health and community strategies to support individual wellness that affects gun violence, crime and family healing as well. Our guest is Jina Carvalho, a mental health advocate and co-founder of the Santa Barbara Response Network - a grassroots volunteer non-profit dedicated to offering Psychological First Aid (PFA) and social support for resilient recovery from traumatic incidents including disasters; suicide and violent injuries, especially among the underserved populations and youth
Gun Violence Reduction in California
Gun homicides in the US, the vast majority of which occur in our densely populated city centers, claim thousands of lives every year. To address the problem, the criminal justice system has historically relied heavily on hard-line tactics like invasive stops and seizures or overly punitive sentencing. In many places where violence is most pervasive, these strategies have done more harm than good.
A few cities around California – including Oakland, Richmond, and Stockton – are using innovative solutions to decrease the amount of gun violence. These interventions focus on dealing directly with the individual trauma endemic for kids growing up in violent neighborhoods and considering alternative ways that directly manage at risk-populations - giving counseling, job training, life coaching, relationship based services, living stipends and targeted police interventions. The results are clear; Oakland, for example, has cut its gun violence rate in half and it continues to decrease every day. Using positivity and opportunity rather than brutality and punitive punishment treats crime as what it is: a symptom of underlying problems. These new techniques might challenge "law & order" mentality, but it's proving far more effective and it's far less expensive as well.
Community Approaches to Mental Health
Carp Connect is a program at the Carpinteria Veterans Hall that brings together eleven agencies and nonprofits to address the issue of debilitating mental health conditions. The Connect program also fights mental illness by offering companionship as a solution to loneliness, which is one of the main drivers of depression and other mental illness. Bringing together these numerous organizations provides mental health care to local residents in a centralized location for the first time. It is a tool to develop an interconnected and resilient community that destigmatizes mental illness for everyone.
Student Mental Health
The third story this week is about a more effective way of treating children with anxiety by focusing on their parents. One in eight children today have anxiety. Often, parents who want to nurture their children can become overprotective and actually make it harder for a child to overcome anxiety. A Yale study has found that after having a group of parents undergo therapy, the children in the study were just as likely to be cured of anxiety as children who had 12 sessions of the best therapy available. The children become successful by learning to learn to fight through the anxiety and cope with new situations.
Jina Carvalho is Director of Communication for the Glendon Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and enhancing mental health by addressing the public health issues of suicide, violence and disturbed family relations. They fulfill that mission through research, education and training in the mental health field as well as to the general public. Visit them at www.glendon.org and www.psychalive.org
Ms. Carvalho, was also one of the original founders of the Santa Barbara Response Network (SBRN) a grassroots volunteer non-profit dedicated to offering Psychological First Aid (PFA) and social support for resilient recovery from traumatic incidents including disasters; suicide and violent injuries, especially among the underserved populations and youth in the Santa Barbara. She is currently serving as SBRN's Managing Director.