Healing from community violence

Through our social media feeds and 24/7 news cycle, we are more aware of community violence than ever. The consistency of such reports has left many people feeling that the world is becoming a more dangerous place.

Statistics show that crime of all kinds, including violent crime, existed in the United States

significant declines through the early 2020s
. However, the murder rate

increased dramatically (34%) between 2019 and 2021.
. in the city of philadelphia,


surged 58% over the same period, hitting a record high of 562 in 2021.

Violence is a public health problem

Violence devastates the families and loved ones of its immediate victims, but it also sends shock waves through entire communities. It can have far-reaching effects on people’s health. It in the truest sense of the word

keeps people up at night
. It can also:

• Cause

Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder

create chronic stress

increase people’s blood pressure and increase their risk of heart attack or stroke

Leads to unhealthy behaviors such as

compulsive eating or drinking, smoking, and substance use

Increase people’s risk of developing

chronic health conditions

such as asthma, high blood pressure, cancer and stroke

It has even been proven that racist violence occurs

The number of premature births and low birth weight in infants is increasing
. And when violence targets people solely because of their identity, it doesn’t just traumatize the local community.

It affects the mental health of individuals at a national level

There are things we can do to work together to stop violence

The causes of community violence are complex and different communities are affected in different ways. But there are

proven solutions

we can all follow.

For example, cleaning up neighborhoods has proven its worth

Significantly reduce gun violence
. Removing the trash from vacant lots and planting grass and trees not only reduces crime but also reduces crime. It also helps alleviate depression and anxiety in the community.

We can support everyone

community-based violence interrupter programs
that were shown

reduce shootings

People who own guns can practice

Gun Safety

by imprisoning them (Free locks are available) And

Report missing firearms immediately

If you want to talk to someone about gun safety but don’t know what to say,

here are some tips
. And there are organizations that can help you

say something anonymously

if you are concerned that someone may commit violence or self-harm at a school.

Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is part of the Coalition to Save Lives, dedicated to addressing the crisis of violence in Philadelphia. It identifies functioning violence prevention programs and tries to reproduce them here. You can learn more by watching

this recent interview

with the managing director of the organization and their reading

Evidence-based solutions report

We all dream of a world where we don’t have to worry about our safety, where not so many lives are cut, where vigils and protests are no longer necessary. And we should all work to make that vision a reality. But if we do it, we must do it too

Take care of us

What can we do to take care of ourselves?

1. Draw power from your community
Resist the urge to withdraw and isolate. Spend time in it

public spaces where you feel safe. Give comfort and take comfort from the people you care about. They may have exactly the same feelings as you. There is power in expressing your thoughts and feelings, and

It’s not healthy to keep them in bottles.

And pay attention

signs of emotional distress

in your loved ones. Do what you can to support the people in your life

especially children
. Encourage others to seek help if you think they need it.

2. Limit your exposure to bad news
It’s important to stay informed. But that doesn’t mean you have to

Stay tuned for the news


Watch graphic videos. Create


for themselves around consuming news about violence in the community. When you start to get scared and angry,

Give yourself a break. Don’t go back to it until you calm down.

3. Prioritize sleep and exercise
Self-care starts with treating your body the right way.

To get along well, you need rest. Sleeping can be hard when your mind is racing, however

There are things you can try

to improve your sleep quality. Exercise is one of them, and it is one too

great stress reliever


4. Practice relaxation
There are many ways to relax besides sport. Lots of people get great results

Do yoga and meditate. But relaxation can be as simple as pausing to breathe, listening to music, cooking a meal, taking a walk, or creating. Whatever works for you, you should do it. For your own well-being.

5. Get help
There are many resources that can support individuals, families, and communities in dealing with violence and trauma, including:

• UpTheBlocka searchable service directory for Philadelphians

• 211a hotline for Pennsylvanians

• Network of Neighbors Responding to Violencewhich uses “Trauma Responders” to help communities in Philadelphia cope

• The
American Psychological Association Resources
for dealing with violence


Emergency number for emergencies
: 1-800-985-5990

Don’t ignore your stress

If you suffer from panic attacks or chest pains, feel irritable on a regular basis, or are concerned about your mental or physical health,

It’s time to get help
. Talk to your doctor and let them help you find the best solutions. Or contact a therapist directly.

Independence members can contact us

Behavioral Health Specialists

by using the

provider finder
. They can also call the mental health number on the back of their membership card to speak to someone who can help them connect with care.

Everyone deserves to be protected from violence

We should not simply accept that community violence will always be a part of our lives. As Alice Walker – the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature for her novel The colour purple – said: “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have it.”

Even when reducing violence seems impossible, we can create a safer world if we build it together. And that starts with taking care of ourselves and each other.

This content was originally published on

IBX Insights

About Dare Henry Moss

Dare Henry-Moss is a Health Equity Manager in the Health Equity Division at Independence Blue Cross. Dare earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Temple University and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Pennsylvania. She is obsessed with health research and has a passion for gender equality, racial justice, her hometown of Philadelphia and caring for her family. She believes it should be easier for everyone to make the health choices that are best for them.


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