With the horrific events of the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings fresh in our minds, legislators, community groups, and concerned individuals are presenting their views on how to prevent another tragedy like the one in Newtown, CT from happening again. One suggested solution, tougher gun control laws, has sparked controversy, and is dividing communities. Another suggestion seems to have a less fractious effect on those weighing in on what needs to be done.
The need for earlier and more mental health assessment and treatment is one part of the solution to end prevent violence that most people agree with. A recent blog from the Safe Start Center focused on preventing violence, and offers four strategies for preventing violence:
Statistically describing and monitoring the extent of the problem; to identify the groups and communities at risk.
Identifying and understanding the factors that place people at risk for violence – to assess which factors may also be amenable to intervention.
Developing and evaluating interventions to reduce these risks.
Implementing and applying widely the measures that are found to work.
Safe Start Center believes that identifying risk factors in young children and then intervening before a dangerous situation arises is a key factor in preventing violence. click here to go to website
In its blog on violence prevention, Safe Start also provides a link for the Center for Disease Control’s guide, Using Evidence for Public Health Decision Making: Violence Prevention Focused on Children and Youth. The guide discusses evidence-based interventions that have proven to be successful:
Strengthening families by teaching effective parenting skills, improving communication, and helping families deal with disruptions (such as divorce) or adversities (such as parental mental illness or poverty) as well as targeting behaviors such as substance use or aggressive behavior.
Strengthening individuals (throughout the lifespan) by building resilience and skills and improving cognitive processes and behaviors.
Preventing specific disorders, such as anxiety or depression, by screening individuals at risk and offering preventive interventions.
Promoting mental health in schools by offering support to children encountering serious stresses—such as exposure to violence and other traumatic events.
Expanding evidence-based mental health programs that reduce symptoms and prevent further violence.
Source: Reclaiming Futures