The Silence of PTSD in Urban Children

Is it possible your students are suffering from PTSD? When we think of PTSD we think about the Men and Women serving in the Military or those coming home from combat. According to WebMD, PTSD , once called “shell shock” or “battle fatigue syndrome”, is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or threatened. PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that causes intense fear, helplessness, or horror, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster. Families of victims can also develop PTSD,as can emergency personnel and rescue workers.

Youth Social and Emotional behavior are caused by the untreated Trauma and horrifying condition of witnessing a Murder, Sounds of Guns discharging, or being a victim themselves or witnessing friends or a loved-one being murdered. Children and Teens who are traumatized by police interaction for Serving a Warrant, No Knock Raids, Swat Team or Aggressively removing a parent or love-one from their home or community.

Most inner-city schools do not have a counselor or therapist due to the funding or budget cuts from the state. The Youths Emotional disruptive outbursts causes Suspension or Expulsion from schools. Black and Latino Students have the highest rate of suspension and incarceration in American Schools. The problem is most educators have lack of knowledge of their students personal lives and living conditions. This can cause high school drop outs, lower academic scores and higher percentage of entering the Juvenile Centers, or in-Prison which in some states youth as young as 15 years old could be charged as an adult. Mental Health in the Black Community goes unnoticed and untreated. Children and Teens who are exposed to violence will eventually become a health risk, reduce developmental and poor social skills. In many cases will have a hard time coping and focusing during school.

The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence indicates;
60 percent of children from birth to 17 years experience victimization and 38 percent witness violence at some point during their childhood.
In one study of inner-city 7-year-olds,
75 percent had heard gunshots, 60 percent had seen drug deals, 18 percent had seen a dead body, and 10 percent had seen a shooting or stabbing at home. So the question is, could PTSD be one of the causes of your students downfalls in Academics and Developmental Growth? Think about it, Children and Teens in high crime neighborhoods are effected by the crossfire of Urban warfare in their communities. School Age children from Elementary to High School who walk to and from school or coming home from Football, Basketball practice or After-School Programs are more likely at risk of being a target or witnessing some type of crime.

A parent who suffers from PTSD can affect the entire family. If the parent is dealing with an additional stress due to Economics hardship, raising the child with out an additional income or dealing with some type of depression it can be really bad. It can increase the child’s depression and educational Process. Schools should offer family and youth counseling to help families in need.

Children who are dealing with the lost of a family, friend or witnessed a persons death will show signs of PTSD especially if the Class Room Door or School Desk slams, children playing and make a unexpected sound that can startled the child and cause the person to react angrily . Sometimes it can causes a child to react by starting a fistfight with another child in their schools or community. I believe all schools should have counseling program to help Parents and Youth during or after school. I believe school officials should propose a budget to help fund counseling programs in Kindergarten, Junior High and High School to advance the progress of a child’s developmental growth.

If any of your students showing any signs of depression please refer them to a school specialist if one is in the building, or communicate with parents in helping to seek assistance for the child or Families need.

According to the Mayo Clinic, PTSD behavior ranges from
-Very aggressive
-Irritability
-Angry Outburst
-Aggressive Behavior

Symptoms
Group into four types;
Intrusive Memories,
Avoidance
Negative Changes in thinking and Mood
Changes in Emotional Reaction

If you notice any of these signs in your child, please contact your child’s physician and/or seek counseling sessions.

MicheleHairston©
Hip Hop Educator/Historian
Not a Therapist!!!!!!!

5 thoughts on “The Silence of PTSD in Urban Children

  1. Wow. This is very alarming. Addressing this phenomenon is certainly a critical component in the developmental process of our youth.

  2. Yes , Bro. LaMont D. Muhammad thank you for posting this because I can relate to this, being the product of an abusive and often violent household. Growing up and seing friends murdered everyday and hoping praying that it doesn’t happen to you. Everything mentioned in this article I have experienced it long before and after operation desert storm.

    • My Prayers to you Mr. Powell, many of our youth suffers and can not afford the treatment to get the proper help. Many schools in the urban community do not have councilor due to a budget cut so I am not calling on all Hip Hop Activist, Educators and Historian as well Artist, Dancers, Graffiti Writers to take a stand.

  3. Very alarming. A lot of behaviors are results of ptsd, many don’t recognize and yell, label and punish these kids. Issues aren’t dealt with. Mental health is #2 for reason youth are in dependent care in Dauphin County, Harrisburg. #1 is drugs. Children and youth has a roundtable meeting every 3 months. Next one is Dec 13th noon to 1pm at 25 S Front St Harrisburg 7th floor. Tuesday, Oct 4th children and youth is having a meeting open to community 6pm to 8pm at their building 1001 N 6th St, Harrisburg, PA 17102.

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