The Cleveland Area Trauma Recovery Center specializes in counseling victims of gun violence

The Cleveland Area Trauma Recovery Center specializes in counseling victims of gun violence

CLEVELAND — Their necklaces are an extra boost to keep going, but their journey to recovery is long and it’s not easy, Alexis Johnson’s journey began in May.

Jackson’s 14-year-old daughter, Abre’Bre’anna, was lying in bed when someone passing by fired into their home, one of which hit her in the head.

“I just kept trying to see if I could feel his heart and I couldn’t,” Jackson said.

Latonya Williams’ healing journey began ten years ago when her daughter Lataevia was killed by a stray bullet while celebrating her 14th birthday.

“I lost him for a long time, but I always knew I had other kids to take care of,” Williams said.

Eight years later, in another unimaginable loss, Williams’ 19-year-old son Derrick was shot and killed as he left a funeral.

“I didn’t lose my mind, but I was in a deep depression,” Williams explained. “I haven’t worked since because of my depression, I kept throwing up.”

Depression can be crippling in people who have experienced trauma.

“I have flashbacks,” Jackson said. “Every time they shoot outside, my kids run into my room, we’re still going through a lot.”

Exposure to trauma like gun violence can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The Kaiser Family Foundation said blacks and Hispanics are more likely to experience it.

In fact, when it comes to mental health, only 25% of black people get help, compared to 40% of white people according to Harvard research data.

Williams and Jackson were able to find help.

“She came and found me, it was like a sign,” Jackson said. “She was at my baby’s balloon release.”

Jackson talks about Brenda Glass, owner of the Brenda Glass Trauma and Recovery Center. Additionally, it is the only black-owned trauma center in Ohio, according to Glass.

Glass specializes in counseling victims of gun violence, moving them to safe housing and putting people on the path to recovery, said of the more than 140 clients she has counseled over the past year, all were black.

“The people I see who have been victims of gun violence are people who would never get help from anyone, they feel like they will get through this on their own or they will be fine,” said Glass.

Glass said one of the main reasons some black people don’t seek mental health is because they feel like they can’t find someone who understands their background or someone they can relate to. identify.

In 2020, data from the American Psychological Association showed that only 4% of psychologists in our country were black.

“I found that to be a great asset considering I’m a person of color and have a similar background,” Glass said.

“We come from some of the same backgrounds, and if you already know some of the pain this person is going through, you can help more,” Jackson said.

“A therapy like his [Glass]who’s come our way, that’s the most helpful anyway,” Williams said.

For Jackson and Williams, the journey to recovery continues, with the support of someone who understands the shoes they walk in and with their guardian angels pushing them forward.

“I wouldn’t be that far, yes I’m crying a little bit but two months ago I didn’t even talk about it,” Jackson said.

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