On an average day, 93 Americans are killed with guns—more than in any other developed country. National reforms, such as closing loopholes around background checks, might help curb that, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said this week at the Aspen Ideas Festival. But those types of changes aren’t likely to make it through a Republican-led Congress. So instead, Murthy pointed out some initiatives individual communities can take on to reduce gun deaths at the local level.
Murthy specifically highlighted programs focused on reducing stress and isolation, and that promoted positive social connections. One impactful example, Murthy said, is “the Chicago ‘Becoming A Man’ program — a one-year intervention, over 32 or so weeks, where kids met with a mentor once a week to develop social connection, to develop skills on how to handle conflict and adversity. In one year compared to a control group they had a 44 percent reduction in violent arrests.”
Indeed, as the Chicago Sun-Times reported, the program focused on attempting to teach teen boys in violent areas of the city how to react to stressful situations in non-violent ways. In addition to hourlong weekly group sessions, they also had access to counselors throughout the week.