May 17, 2019 

9:00-5:00 pm 

Holiday Inn Mart Plaza/The Chicago School- Chicago Campus 

Chicago, IL 

Theme: Gun Violence Prevention: The Mental Health Implications of Mass Shootings 

Gun violence has a detrimental impact on society in numerous ways, including reductions in the quality of life due to the fear of violence (APA, 2018).  The United States has the highest rate of gun-related injuries among “developed countries,” as well as the highest rate of gun ownership.  Furthermore, the U.S has more mass shootings than any other country.  The recent and tragic incidents of mass shootings in schools across the U.S have left community members, families, and their children shocked and terrified.  The resulting mental health ramifications are many and may include trauma, PTSD, general anxiety, depression, and others.  Psychologists and other mental health providers are working to develop effective methods to reduce gun violence, but political opposition has created barriers to support for research.

The frequency of mass shootings, including school shootings, is on the shocking rise as there have been nearly as many mass shootings as days in 2018 thus far.  During 2017, there were 346 mass shootings in the U. S. killing 437 people and injuring over 1,800 people.  In Chicago alone, there have been more than 1,000 people shot and over 200 homicides in 2018, with the majority of the victims residing in marginalized communities (Chicago Tribune, 2018).  Gun violence affects people of all ages but has a disproportionate impact on young adults and racial/ethnic minorities (APHA, 2018).  As responsible and engaged members of our community, mental health practitioners must respond.

This conference will explore how this complex and multifaceted problem of gun violence prevention can be addressed by various systems (e.g. mental health providers, community advocates, policy leaders, educators, and students) to work together and promote a comprehensive approach that will keep individuals, families, and communities safe.

Conference Objectives: 

  •          Identify individual, community, and social prevention and     intervention methods to promote mental health wellness
  •          Apply research, theory, and innovative practice initiatives
  •          Create inter-professional coalitions to engage in systemic sustainable change

Keynote Speaker: Jaleel Abdul-Adil, Ph.D. 

Over a (Gun) Barrel: Roles and Responses in Violence Prevention

This introductory workshop will present a professional provider framework for perspectives and practices in violence prevention that was developed at the Urban Youth Trauma Center (UYTC) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a site in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  Adapted from the World Health Organization violence prevention model, UYTC has constructed a socio-ecological model of trauma-informed violence prevention and intervention to serve a continuum of public and mental health needs related to community violence exposure, perpetration, and victimization.

The workshop will apply the UYTC violence prevention model to addressing gun violence in contemporary urban contexts.  Topics will also include historical contexts, socio-political dynamics, peer group influences, and other contemporary factors that can both contribute to current crisis as well as support best practice solutions.

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