Gun Wars // BLOG

Treating the unseen wounds of gun violence

Posted July 24, 2014

By Jordan Rubio

For people who have been violently injured, many from gunshot wounds, the staff at Healing Hurt People at Drexel University in Philadelphia is working to heal the mental trauma that can sometimes linger long after physical injuries have healed.

The staff uses an approach called trauma-informed care, which attempts to understand, recognize and respond to the effects of traumatic injuries, such as gunshot injuries.

The program, which also operates in St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, has around 50 patients, including 35 adults and 15 children.

Theodore Corbin, one of the co-directors of the program, said it’s important to look at both the mental and physical aspects of healing after someone has been the victim of a gunshot wound.

“Medicine is really good at healing physical wounds, but not so good at healing mental wounds,” he said.

The program has licensed social workers and an outreach worker who work with the patients to identify goals, such as housing and employment. It also tries to explain to the patient what might happen to them emotionally and mentally after suffering such an injury.

Part of the program’s purpose is to break the cycle of violence and encourage victims not to seek retaliation, according to the program’s website.

Part of that process includes letting clients know that their safety is not about carrying a gun, Corbin said.

“This is something that should absolutely be a staple of health care in the United States, especially in every trauma center.”


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