How Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Can Affect Children in Oakland

How Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Can Affect Children in Oakland

Drive By Shooting Victim Talks About His Experience from Natalie Rodriguez on Vimeo.

Children in Oakland, Calif., may suffer symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, as a result of the violence that they are exposed to. Paul Rodriguez who is currently a senior at the California State University, East Bay, was the victim of a drive by shooting in 2007 while he waited for the bus outside of Castlemont High School where he was a senior at the time. Suzanne Dove, School Counselor at Saint Elizabeth Elementary School in Oakland, and licensed marriage and family therapist, says that despite the fact that not all victims of trauma develop PTSD, even infants can show signs of the disorder.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a type of anxiety disorder that can occur after people have been exposed to a traumatic event including exposure to community violence. According to the National Center for PTSD, a national study amongst children under the age of 18, more than one in four reported having witnessed domestic or community violence.

In July 2013, Oakland city council man Noel Gallo, called for a state of emergency in the city after 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine, was shot to death while attending a sleep over. Since the publication of a 2008 article in the Oakland Tribune titled “Violence in Oakland creates symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder,” more than 20 minors have lost their lives victims of violence in Oakland. According to the San Jose Mercury News, since 2011, five children under the age of ten have been killed. Today, Sunday, August 25, 2013 there were two shootings that took place within minutes of each other in the city of Oakland, Calif., in which two children were amongst the victims.

Rodriguez who survived a drive by as a child says, “I don’t think they meant to kill the kids and they accidentally shot the kids, and I don’t think they feel bad about it either.” Rodriguez believes that those committing the crimes seek respect and property by any means necessary.

In this interview, Dove explains that the Federal Government recognizes that children in urban communities that are exposed to crime are at risk for developing PTSD.

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