Coons Introduce Bill to Fund Mental Health in Wilmington, Communities Hard Affected by Gun Violence | The latest news from WDEL


Communities like Wilmington hard hit by gun violence could get federal help.

US Senator Chris Coons sponsors the Preventing and Addressing Trauma with Health Services or PATHS Act which aims to provide federal funding to mental health communities most affected by gun violence.

US Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware)

WDEL file

The bill aims to spend $ 100 million a year nationally over five years.

“This would provide grants to eligible organizations to ensure that we have high quality, trauma-informed mental health services in communities where there are very high levels of gun violence,” Coons said. The morning news from Delaware on WDEL.

In Delaware, it is certainly Wilmington, where gun violence was declared an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control, but also potentially, Dover, where murders reached a record high last year.

“Gun violence [in Wilmington] has been a constant challenge over a long period of time, and studies have shown that exposure to violence can have a very hard, very negative impact on mental health, especially of children, ”Coons said.

Coons was inspired to introduce the PATHS Act, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) after seeing firsthand how gun violence affects children.

“This is something that I saw while volunteering at a school on the East Side of Wilmington many years ago, and it is something that I think could help us cope with the cumulative and long-term impact of community trauma, particularly in black and brown communities, where there has been a long-term challenge of violence.

Additionally, Coons said he repeatedly hears from educators, community leaders and parents about fears of unmet mental health needs that then perpetuate generational gun violence.

“They are concerned about how long-term exposure to the uncertainty and trauma of violence in their immediate neighborhood has a significant impact on the development of young people, on their worldview, on their attitudes and then on. their actions., “he said.

ChristianaCare President and CEO Dr. Janice Nevin applauded Coons’ efforts to address the effects of violence.

“Violence is a public health epidemic that we as healthcare providers must address directly, through programs such as ChristianaCare’s EVOLV Hospital Violence Intervention Program and our collaborative co-responder model with the New Castle County Police Department, which provides mental health awareness services. to the community, ”Nevin said in a prepared statement. “The PATHS Act will provide much-needed resources to support innovative programs that address a wide range of behavioral health needs for Delawarens.”

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