Exposure to violence can impact mental health negatively

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – As the country deals with an increase in the number of deadly mass shootings, research suggests these events take a toll on our mental health.

“If we’re inundated all the time with all this information, we build a tolerance and it loses its affect almost like an alcoholic when they drink every night, they need more to get the same effect they build a tolerance same thing with violence, sex, and all these other things we’re being exposed to 24-7,” clinical psychologist Dr. Corey Gonzales said.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found more than half of adults in the U.S. have experienced a gun-related incident and one in five has been personally threatened with a gun or had a family member who has been killed by a gun.

Like Bakersfield resident Wesley Davis Jr. who lost his son, Wendale Davis, to gun violence at 16 years old and said seeing so much violence has a lasting effect.

“To continue to see violence at the rate we’re seeing it for me it’s like reopening a wound every time,” Davis Jr. said.

The violence he has seen affects many low-income neighborhoods throughout Kern County.

“PTSD is something that’s real and amongst many folks coming out of those neighborhoods and you know what you see the most is kind of what you become like,” Davis Jr. said.

However, Gonzales says that it’s all about management.

“Manage your social media, manage how much of the stuff you watch and try to meditate, try to get balance, try to exercise, get your sleep, and manage how much of this stuff you’re exposed to,” Gonzales said.

If you or someone you know struggles with mental health, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or click here for mental health tips.