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3/23/18blog post

an open letter to congress on gun violence and mental health

The national dialogue around the issues of child safety and gun violence continues to escalate.  As a children’s hospital with expertise in behavioral and mental health, we know the individual incidents of gun violence along with conversations in the media take a toll on young minds who are grappling with these traumatic events.

Dayton Children’s is joining with others in the national children’s hospital community insisting that our legislators and the administration work together towards solutions to reduce trauma and create safe environments for our children to live, learn, and grow.

Below is the letter Dayton Children’s and our colleagues will be sending to Congress and the Administration.

Children’s hospitals across the country stand ready to work with Congress and the Administration on bipartisan solutions to improve children’s health and well-being by reducing the trauma and deaths caused by gun violence.

Today’s children are impacted – directly and indirectly – by traumatic events in their environments. Violence, in the home, in schools and in our neighborhoods has long-term effects on the victims, the bystanders and those who live with fear and anxiety about what might occur, affecting children’s health and well-being. Violence, and particularly gun violence, has emerged as a public health crisis for children. 

Placing a stronger priority on public policies and programs to ensure safe environments for children requires bipartisan action and investments in behavioral and mental health screening and services as well as supports for efforts to avoid preventable injuries such as gun safety programs. Our children’s health and well-being depends on it. We know early childhood intervention improves the socialization, resilience and empathy in children, and we know investments in children’s behavioral and mental health care, education and research pave a path to healthier adulthood. Creating safer homes, schools and communities for children to live, learn and play in is a goal we can strive for together.

Thank you for your leadership on this vitally important issue and your priority for the safety of America’s children.

Jessica Saunders

director, Community Engagement
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