Youth who are exposed to violence are at a greater risk for negative health outcomes in adulthood, including chronic disease, functional limitations, premature mortality, and mental health disorders, especially those involving emotional lability and a perpetuation of violent behaviors toward themselves and others. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that an average of approximately 13 homicides occurred daily among the youth population between the ages of 10-24 and that approximately 1,700 youth are treated daily in hospital emergency departments as a result of violent crimes. The estimated direct costs in response to the youth violence are estimated to be about $17.5 billion dollars a year. Many cities in our nation report escalating rates of violent crimes and ever increasing involvement of deadly weapons among our youth between the ages of 15-24. The rates of youth violence are disproportionately high in impoverished communities that are underserved with healthy lifestyle recreational facilities and programs, social and psychological and clinical medical providers and services, standard retail stores, restaurants, and food markets, and a healthy economic base. Homicide among the youth population has taken more lives than suicide, heart disease, HIV and unintentional injuries.
Wicked Problem Description:
This proposal aims to join in the search for effective intervention models to break the cycle of violence. This proposal is predicated on the presumption of a societal moral responsibility to seek to provide the youth of Ferguson, Missouri, a violence prevention intervention program that will build the established culture of the community to promote healthier lifestyles, coping mechanisms, support systems, and early detection and monitoring that would provide immediate benefits for the current community and provide an effective national model that will mitigate and alleviate the escalating incidence and prevalence of violent youth crimes in our nation for generations to come. Violence is a health equity issue. Scientific literature has shown violence impacts the physical and mental health. Violence is a reality in the world that we live in, however, some communities and groups are more exposed to social conditions that create a medium for violence and can make violence a normal part of life. Inequities in violence-related outcomes are related to various systemic issues. In order to achieve health equity and transform communities’ violence must be addressed. Improving healthful social conditions for all will ensure all benefit from the same basic, rights, security, and opportunities. If we strive to promote the best social and physical conditions for all then we will increase health equity and reduce health disparities. The World Health Organization (WHO) views violence as “one of the leading public health issues of our time. Violence is preventable. Preventing violence has a tremendous value, not just saving lives, but it also promotes health equity and strengthen communities.
This will be a youth violence prevention intervention project intended to serve an economically oppressed minority community using evidence-based methodologies. This proposal is supported by an established local faith-based organization. This violence prevention project will combine the mentorship and interventions to identify, contact, and serve those at risk youth. The intervention modalities will be conducted through personal contact and bonding, attentive listening, advising and personal interactions, training and education, mentoring, and clinical screening for psychological, sociological and mental health disorders. There are multiple strategies to address the problem of violence on multiple levels. The interdisciplinary Clinical Fellows will team with the advisory committee to focus on the individual and the community level. The target population for the proposed project is minority youth between 13-17 years of age who are living in the economically distressed areas of Ferguson, Missouri, who have been exposed to high rates of violence in recent years.
The primary aims of this fellowship are to:
- Identify the youth in the community who are at risk of engaging in violent behaviors or are at risk of becoming the targets of intentional violence.
- Identify conditions and circumstances that appear to foment violence.
- Engage and intervene at the earliest possible stages of violence or risks for violence and thus reduce the incidence and prevalence of violence.
- Provide clinical services to minority youth.
Believers Temple Word Fellowship
Participants ability to demonstrate coping skills through filmed documentary from beginning, middle, and end of program. Number of participants screened for clinical services and the number of participants that are referred for services.