Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Hurt people hurt people"

The first thing we (as a city) must do is make sure that every person shot, stabbed or otherwise injured in an act of violence get some kind of trauma care. It could be a psychiatric professional; outreach worker trained in trauma response; clergy trained in trauma response, etc.

If we agree in principle that "hurt people hurt people" then we must help those who have been physically hurt before the mental hurt takes hold. Right now, if you are injured by violence and go to BMC or the Brigham, you get a trauma follow-up but other hospitals (Carney) you generally don't. Further, the trauma workers currently doing this have huge caseloads.
Such a system could relatively easily be paid for by existing community mental health funds under MassHealth and other public health sources. There's a lot more money floating around in healthcare than youth development. If the agencies and providers can't get it done voluntarily, I will file legislation to direct the relevant state agencies to do it.

There is precedent for the legislature directing an agency how to spend its money. For example, Senator Wilkerson had language inserted that forced the state DPH to fund-AIDS response by need and population - a much more equitable system than what proceeded it.

On a community level, we could build a similar system using volunteer social workers and volunteer trauma workers (I was part of the all-volunteer "Community Crisis Response Team" 13 years ago) but we would need the cooperation of the hospitals or BPD to get the "referrals."

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