The stress of pandemic affecting mental health & link to violent crime

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NEW ORLEANS– In recent weeks, violent crime in New Orleans has seen a spike, with multiple shootings daily. Mental health professionals weigh in on the co-relation of the effects of the pandemic and gun violence.

NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said, “There are some serious stressors right now and we really need to take a look in regards to our mental state because we are seeing things rapidly evolve unnecessarily.”

Mental health professionals are studying the increase of violent crimes say it could be linked to higher stress levels people are under because of the pandemic.

Over at the National Alliance On Mental Illness or NAMI New Orleans, Executive Director, Joseph Bodenmiller says our community is still suffering from the effects of the pandemic due to an overall decline in mental health.

“Having not been going out and about and with things closed down, it has been very traumatic. A lot of that stress comes with us, so when we interact with other people that often makes it difficult to control emotions and tempers,” Bodenmiller said.

When emotions run high, people can unfortunately snap.

“Emotional trauma helps us react in a strong way than we normally would,” he said.

Early intervention from family and friends can help by recognizing that someone’s going through something.

“First response mental health, be in touch with someone who can help navigate them,” Bodenmiller said.

The hope is when anger and stress levels drop, maybe the crime rates will too.

NAMI New Orleans says that statistics say that gun violence at the hands of people with actual mental illnesses is less than 3 percent. May is also National Mental Health Awareness Month.

If you or someone needs help, please call NAMI New Orleans at 504-896-2345. For a link to their helpful resources, click HERE.

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