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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

GANG violence, dead friends and mental illness

JUST watching Lucy Martindale on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme - she grew up surrounded by gangs and lost more than 10 friends and family to gang violence.

Gangs are responsible for 20% of violent crime in London, the BBC reported today.

I found Lucy's story provides huge insight into gang violence in London - and probably gang behaviour across the world. Her video report about gang violence and mental illness is currently available to view here on the BBC website.

View Lucy's report now about gang violence

Not everyone connected to gangs necessarily turn to crime, said Lucy this morning. But people who lose family and friends to murder can get ill - long-term exposure to violence is associated with a range of psychological problems including depression.

It is not surprising young people operating the law of the jungle on London's streets and those affected by their killings and violence experience mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

She said young people - mainly 'boys', 'teenage males', 'young men'... choose your label - who carry knives and guns do so because they are in fear of being attacked; they carry them for protection so "don't label them all the same" she said.

"If someone doesn't die, it's a good year," she said at one point

I go back to previous posts on this blog that people in more civilised parts of our society need to change their behaviour to provide decent role models for young people to aspire to.

For example, politicians need to behave less like animals in Parliament (arguing, sticking the knife in opponents), business must not act as though job losses are a normal part of working life etc (often mentally hurting people who are simply earning money to pay bills + put dinner on the table for their loved ones as well as themselves), world markets must be less like an anarchistic places to trade and survive. You know... behave like civilised human beings, not wild animals or cavemen.

Much must change to give young people in London gangs - and probably the rest of the country - more to aspire to than the law of the jungle that seems to be often operating in civilised society. People in civilised society need to show they can be trusted, be role models to aspire to. Only then can we reasonably expect changes in behaviour from our young people, I reckon.

Please join with me by helping give young people in London better choices by helping fund education run by The Ben Kinsella Trust - donate to the Three Peaks challenge this summer in Ben's memory (Ben was stabbed to death in 2008). You can also take part in the challenge, raise money yourselves by contacting the trust.

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