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Push to address childhood trauma arises following violent weekend in Milwaukee

Posted at 6:44 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 19:44:37-04

MILWAUKEE — During a single weekend in Milwaukee, the city saw three people murdered, including a 13-year-old girl. Another 19 people were shot and injured, including several teens and a 10-year-old girl.

These numbers that show an upwards trend of violence in a city that so many call home.

"Everybody is responsible for this," said Janice Gorden, the founder of Victims of Milwaukee Violence.

The disturbing trend has violence prevention experts, like Gorden, calling on the community to self-reflect and address the hurt and trauma they've experienced, especially in children.

"This is what they're used to. They're used to that trauma, so they cause the trauma themselves," said Gorden.

According to a recent study, more than two-thirds of children reported experiencing at least one traumatic event by age 16. If that trauma goes untreated, health officials say it can often lead to violent behavior down the road.

"If left untreated, this is what we see," said Dr. Ashely Schoof, the senior clinical director for the STRONG Milwaukee center.

"Do you feel as though there are a lot of people who need that help, but there's maybe not as many resources as you would like to see in the city?" asked TMJ4's news reporter Taylor Lumpkin.

"Absolutely," said Dr. Schoof. "That is exactly what's happening, the supply of resources has been tapped."

That's why Dr. Schoof says the push to demand more funding for mental health services for children is needed now more than ever.

"We need to create different policies or procedures around infant and early childhood mental health. We need to be able to support that from a financial perspective so that we can create a different scenario for when these guys are adults," said Dr. Schoof

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