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Addressing Gun Violence

The Community Level
Learn where the AAP stands:
In your Community
  • Identify and use community level data to determine the scope of the problem and the populations who are impacted 
  • Build relationships and collaborate with local public health entities, community service organizations (Jaycees, Lions, Junior League, Urban League, state or local Parent Teacher Association, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, YMCA, YWCA ), schools, child care providers, law enforcement agencies, and community members to identify common concerns, priorities, and strategies to reduce unintentional injuries.
  • Participate in local convenings or meetings to discuss community violence and hear from community members * (Examples: Local Brady Chapters, National Association for the Education of Young Children,
  • Advocate  for enforcement of local and state regulations and encourage your City Mayor to join Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
  • Participate within your local Child Death Review team*
  • Educate families and community organizations regarding the risk of guns in the home of the child. Engage diverse community stakeholders who can help develop culturally and linguistically appropriate educational messages and materials.
  • Engage your local media. Send a letter to the editor and/or offer yourself as a source for interviews. The AAP developed speaking points on firearms, mental health and school violence to assist you. The Media Resources tab of federaladvocacy.aap.org allows you to look up media outlets and contacts by zip code to help you submit letters to the editor and opinion editorials. 
  • Contact your local school district to offer your assistance and expertise. Become familiar with your school district’s emergency management plan. Know the names and means for contacting school health and safety team staff (e.g. medical advisor, school nurse, psychologists, social workers) and how you may assist them in the event of a crisis.
Resources
Handguns in the Home
Screening for Domestic Violence in the Community Pediatric Setting
Connected Kids at Head Start: Taking Office-Based Violence Prevention to the Community
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Physical Health Outcomes of Childhood Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence: A Systematic Review
Mobilizing a Community to Address the Impact of Childhood Trauma
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Resource to Help Adults Prepare in Advance Active Shooter, How to Respond poster and booklet.
A Critical Concern: Pediatrician Self-Care After Disasters
Secondary Traumatic Stress: A Fact Sheet for Child-Serving Professionals
Disaster Planning for Schools
Disaster preparedness resources for schools
Health, Mental Health, and Safety Guidelines for Schools
Talking to Children About Disasters
Crime, Violence and Your Child
Healthy Children Radio: Helping Children Cope in the Aftermath of a School Shooting

* Intentional Injury resources

Suicide

Learn what the AAP stands for
Supporting the Family After the Death of a Child
The Pediatrician and Childhood Bereavement

In your community
  • Take care of yourself. Compassion fatigue is an inescapable aspect of a pediatrician's work. Listening to trauma stories or helping patients/families deal with a tragedy or loss can have an emotional toll. Remember to “Put your own oxygen mask on first” and help yourself by taking a break from your professional activities, engaging in activities that you enjoy, using positive self-talk to counteract negative thoughts, eating healthy meals, and getting regular exercise.
  • Know how to access mental health and substance use support services in your community for children and families.
  • Advocate in the community for improved children’s mental health services including access to mental health professionals, community-based psychosocial interventions, and substance abuse services. Begin discussions with community mental health providers, schools, and parents on ways to improve early identification, treatment, and referral services for students. 
  • Educate families that suicide attempts with a gun are very likely to be fatal, and the presence of a gun in the home is associated with increased risk of suicide among adolescents.
Resources
Strategies for System Change in Children’s Mental Health: A Chapter’s Action Kit
A Critical Concern: Pediatrician Self-Care After Disasters
After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools


Learn how to address gun violence at the Practice Level, State Level, and Federal Level.


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