Visit Our Coronavirus (COVID-19)  Resource Section ⇒ X
Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Neighborhood Gun Violence Means Worse Mental Health for Kids

Neighborhood Gun Violence Means Worse Mental Health for Kids

TUESDAY, Sept. 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Living within a few blocks of a shooting increases the risk that a child will end up visiting the emergency department for mental health-related problems, researchers say.

The new study found significant increases in mental health-related ER visits in the two weeks after a neighborhood shooting, especially among kids who lived closest to it and those exposed to multiple shootings.

"Gun violence affects the whole community, beyond the victims who are personally injured," said lead study author Dr. Aditi Vasan. She is an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine and a pediatric hospitalist.

"Now that we have confirmed exposure to shootings negatively impacts the mental health of children, we can work to develop ways to provide preventive and responsive support for children and families exposed to neighborhood gun violence," she added in a university news release.

For the study, the researchers used data from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to examine the number of emergency room visits of 2- to 12-year-olds that were mostly for mental health concerns, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, intentional ingestion of harmful substances and other psychiatric emergencies. The investigators compared these ER visits with Philadelphia police reports of shootings.

Of over 54,300 patients studied, about 43,100 had one or more emergency department visits in the 60 days after a shooting. More than 42,900 had one or more ER visits in the 60 days before a shooting.

The data included more than 2,600 shooting incidents. Of those, 31% corresponded to one or more mental health-related ER visits within 60 days. Kids living within two to three blocks of a shooting were more likely to have a mental health-related emergency department visit, the researchers found.

According to researcher Dr. Eugenia South, an assistant professor of emergency medicine and faculty director of the Penn Urban Health Lab, "Symptoms of mental health distress in children appear within days of being exposed to a single shooting. What's more, in Philadelphia and other cities across the United States, gun violence disproportionately affects Black children and families, adding to existing health disparities."

South said the findings underscore the need for public health interventions aimed at reducing children's exposure to gun violence and the mental health impact associated with such exposure.

The findings were published online Sept. 20 in JAMA Pediatrics.

More information

To learn more about the impact of gun violence on kids, visit the Child Welfare League of America.

SOURCE: University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, news release, Sept. 20, 2021

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Health Tips
Helping Kids Get Over their Fears
Is It Time for Toilet Training?
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Recognizing Domestic Violence
Sports and Music: Both Good for Kids
Treating Minor Injuries in Children
Weight Room No Longer Off-Limits to Kids
When Can a Child Wear Contact Lenses
Quizzes
Child Development Quiz
NewsLetters
It’s a Guy Thing: Depression Affects Men, Too
Many Teens Still Dealing with Depression Brought On by the Pandemic
Diseases & Conditions
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma in Children Index
Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) in Children
Bites and Stings
Bone Marrow Transplant for Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Discipline
Ewing Sarcoma in Children
Eye Safety and First Aid
Firearms
First Aid for Poisonings in a Child
First Aid for the Eyes
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) in Children
Home Page - Burns
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Insect Stings in Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Meningitis in Children
Minor Injuries Overview
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Myasthenia Gravis (MG) in Children
Osteosarcoma (Osteogenic Sarcoma) in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries of the Face and Head- Overview
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 1 to 3 Months
The Growing Child: 10 to 12 Months
The Growing Child: 1-Year-Olds
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Growing Child: 4 to 6 Months
The Growing Child: 7 to 9 Months
The Growing Child: Newborn
The Growing Child: Preschool (4 to 5 Years)
The Growing Child: School-Age (6 to 12 Years)
The Heart
The Kidneys
Tick Bite Diseases
Treatment for Human Bites
Your Child's Asthma
Your Child's Asthma: Flare-ups

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.