Mental health clinician shares how to cope with violence in community |

Mental health clinician shares how to cope with violence in community

Ben Henry
Updated: June 21, 2021 10:38 PM
Created: June 21, 2021 10:20 PM

Those who call Minneapolis and the surrounding communities home have not had a very peaceful year.

The city has experienced an increase in violent crime that includes 16 more homicides in 2021 than this time last year. And one of the more recent homicides — the discovery of dismembered body parts in a northeast neighborhood — has added to the trauma.

"It's getting discouraging," said Dr. Anne Gearity, a mental health clinician who both lives and works in Minneapolis.

"I've had someone come in from the suburbs and as he left he said, 'Do you feel safe here?' I said, 'Yes, of course I feel safe,'" Gearity added. "This is where I work, this is where I live, but I think people are starting to think that it's not safe — and that's really dangerous."

Gearity said those thoughts can create feelings of despair and lead to people not working to improve their communities.

"When I think of other communities that have been traumatized, a lot of what helped them recover is that people started to not leave the city but care about the city," Gearity said. "That's number one: We have to learn how to care about the city."

Gearity said it's also important to help children understand and comprehend the violence. And while it's not always easy, she says to try and connect and "build bridges" with people who have differing beliefs.

Feeling frightened is also common when surrounded by trauma, Gearity said. It's also a feeling that can lead to positive change.

"Fear either leads you to be angry and bias and mean or it leads you to say, 'What can I do to feel better and make people feel better?' Fear can go either way, and I really hope as a community we decide to use fear to build a better community," she said.

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