Groups push for funds to create emotional, mental support programs for gunshot victims

Piedmont Triad News

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The pandemic has created an influx of people hospitalized from gunshot wounds across the country, and now groups are calling for COVID-19 relief funds to go, in part, to programs to help those victims recover.

Community Justice Action Relief Fund reports that most of the gunshot victims are between 8 and 18 years old, and most of the shootings can be traced back to some sort of retaliation.

“This is someone who is victimized first, and after recovery, still chose to retaliate,” Gregory Jackson said.

Jackson helped form CJAP after he became a gunshot victim himself.

The group helps organizations across the country form some sort of gun violence prevention program. They also track what states are doing to provide some type of support for gunshot victims.

“North Carolina is behind the ball,” compared to other states along the East Coast, according to Jackson.

His push is for programs created to streamline victim support from the time they are out of surgery, through physical therapy, and then into some type of mental and emotional therapy to help them process the emotions they may feel.

“When I got out of surgery, there was no type of therapeutic support, no one to help me process what happened,” Jackson said, of his situation.

Hope Dealers Outreach President Frankie Gist said the same situation exists in Winston-Salem from his interaction with victims.

“The biggest thing they struggle with is big crowds. Trusting people. … For those young men and woman, if they in the streets – 9 times out of 10 – they will retaliate,” Gist said.

Per Jackson, “one of the biggest indicators of if someone acts out violently is – have they been exposed to violence first? Unfortunately, in places like North Carolina, we don’t do enough to serve and support survivors.”

The signs doctors suggest looking for in gunshot victims is if they struggle with:

  • Being tense or on edge all of the time
  • Avoiding large crowds of people
  • Negative thoughts or trouble sleeping
  • Major, lasting changes in their mood

So far, talks continue at the state level on if funds will be made available for programs like this.

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