Why is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder more prevelent in Urban Youth than returning U.S. soldiers

America could benefit greatly if we nurtured our most valued asset-youth and children and provided safeguards (teaching for parents, safe places for kids, emotional tools to handle challenging times, and economic opportunities to create a new reality) to our urban and inner city youth and young adults.

I welcome feedback, insights, books, those concerned and passionate about these topics!

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I am a non-expert in these areas, but I agree completely with you that more resources should be given to nurturing, healing and supporting young people. The language of the military and the streets overlap and intermingle in telling ways. Neighborhoods in Kingston, Jamaica get named Gaza. Chicago rappers rep for Chiraq. It is no surprise that the psychological damage of young people growing up in violent communities mirrors the damage done to soldiers in similarly dangerous and unpredictable environments. Do you have more information on the rates of PTSD in urban youth?

Even though a national consensus seems to exist on the need to care for veterans, we still see tremendous gaps in the care of veteran populations.  Unfortunately no such consensus exists on the need to care for urban youth. These populations are euphemistically described as under-served. They are under-served for a reason. They are simply not the priority of those with power.

One of the primary benefits that soldiers have upon returning to the states is that they are often leaving behind the situations that caused the onset of PTSD. Unfortunately when it comes to care of young people in violent urban areas, there is not always the opportunity for those people to leave the situations causing the onset of PTSD or other related triggers. I would like  to learn more about these issues, please let me know what resources and experiences have been helpful to you to be a champion for these youth.  

On a larger scale, supporting individual young people as they overcome limited life chance opportunity is merely a nod to the need for much larger systemic changes in the fundamental nature of society.  One day this Babylonian nightmare must end.  

Answered over 2 years ago tallybower 289 3 from United States
over 2 years ago mznicole mason said:

Tally Bower,

You make excellent points. Your concluding point that individual change is just a nod is one way to look at it.

However if I believed that I wouldn’t even start investing into such youth. I’d eventually beleive it was a waist of time. But it really takes one person who then encourages another person that not only CAN THEY, but IT IS POSSIBLE to make a change and become the change. Sounds very pie in the sky and aspirational however it is crucial. If Martin Luther King, Sean Puffy Combs, Donald Trump, Vanna White (random I know but she has the most plush job in the world), Michael Jordan, Ida B. Wells, or Harriet Tubman thought that way our society would be a very different place….

over 2 years ago mznicole mason said:

P.s. There is a great documentary about PTSD and urban youth (Baltimore, MD specifically) which inspired me to address this issue personally and pursue a degree in counseling…. If I could find it online i’d post it. There is a version on youtube that is similar but not the exact one…


The best description of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) I have read was in “PTSD: The key is to re-engage life by managing the hyperarousal symptoms,” an article authored by Dr. Mark Hammel, a practicing psychologist with 30 years of experience working with seriously injured patients.  Writing as a guest columnist for Thomas E. Ricks’ column in FP: Foreign Policy, Hammel  explains that PTSD is an injury in which “the perception of mortal danger” creates such a giant neurological ‘power surge’ it causes the sensory system of the brain to malfunction and go into “a sort of safe mode, where the danger-monitoring-and-response function supersedes all other normal functioning.”

A good article on PTSD in children and urban youth is: Hamblen, J. and Barnett, E. “PTSD in Children and Adolescents.” The National Center for PTSD. United States Department of Veteran Affairs. December 16, 2009.

You might also find the following two papers interesting:

Purcel, M. C. Surviving Inner-City War Zones: Trauma and Resiliency Among Urban Youth Exposed to Community Violence. California Institute of Integral Studies. San Francisco: 2006.

Rialon, R. A. A Comparative Analysis of the Children’s Future Orientation Scale Ratings of Traumatized Urban Youth with and without Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Columbia University. 2011 

Answered about 2 years ago exdir1 143 from United States