Pilot program aims to help people cope with tragedies

Posted at 5:56 PM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 17:56:42-05

CINCINNATI -- There have been a lot of shooting deaths recently, including in Mount Auburn, where 9-year-old Alexandrea Thompson was killed last month.

The city is working on a new initiative to help people cope with these tragedies.

Rev. Alvin Scales knows the Mount Auburn community well. He said he's fed up with the recent shooting deaths in the neighborhood.

"This has been an ongoing epidemic," he said.

People who live there witness the shootings. It's something they don't want to see and, sometimes, something they can't forget.

"Once you see a very tragic situation, that's going to continue to play in your mind over and over again, and so it can consume, it can literally consume and engulf you by what you have experienced," Scales said.

City Councilwoman -- and mayoral candidate -- Yvette Simpson is working with UC Health to create a program to help people who experience violent crime.

"We have a lot of shootings in our community, about 400 a year, and the idea that people aren't traumatized by that is just not true," Simpson said.

The idea for the "Psych Trauma Team" is for professional psychiatrists and psychologists to go into neighborhoods where shootings have happened and do an assessment to see if there is mental trauma.

Starting Wednesday, the team will talk with people who have been affected by the recent shootings in Mount Auburn.

"If we don't do something different to make sure we're treating what leads to violence, if we don't get preventative, then we're never going to see crime reduced over time," Simpson said.

Her goal is to eventually have professionals at shooting scenes to help people cope.  She said if the trauma is left untreated, it can lead to violent behavior or victimization in the future.

"We do believe that this trauma is what creates violence in our communities," Simpson said.