Community Violence and Self Harm

Community violence is the term used to refer to the violence that certain environments contain. The violence that occurs in a neighborhood can leaves individuals who live there with feelings of fear and anger. Frequently, people who live with community violence must endure drive-by shootings, gang violence, terrorist activities, or violence from deranged individuals such as mass murderers. These experiences can cause great distress and can leave lasting effects on a person’s metal stability. This is why community violence is such a prevalent cause of post traumatic stress disorder.

Community Violence Around the World

Community violence affects Americans more than any other country in the world. In fact, the Center for Disease Control has published reports claiming that America is perhaps the world’s most violent country. Children who grow up in crime stricken neighborhoods or live in areas of the world in which war makes it impossible to walk outside without fear of death are especially susceptible to post traumatic stress disorder. The underdeveloped mental capacities of children everywhere do not allow them to cope with the fears faced from traumatic events as an adult might. However, many adults are just as likely to be stricken with post traumatic stress disorder under such extreme conditions.

Self Harm

Self harm is a byproduct of post traumatic stress disorder. Some individuals seek to take their suffering out on themselves by mutilating their own bodies. Approximately one in every one thousand people engages in some form of self harm every year. Research shows that an alarmingly high number of people engage in self harm and, subsequently, need some type of psychological therapy to overcome their self-destructive behavior.

Females are more likely to engage in self harm than their male counterparts. Common indicators of whether a person will engage in self harm include their childhood sexual history, their overall childhood in terms of the affection and care that they received, and whether or not they were abused either sexually or physically during their childhood.


Often, self harm coexists with other forms of body destruction such as drug abuse. Therapists usually use dialectical behavior therapy to treat individuals who harm themselves. This therapy teaches the individual alternates routs of dealing with their painful emotions and feelings and allows them to work through their problems both in a personal and a group setting.