Jefferson County Department of Health Works to Launch New Program for Victims of Gun Violence


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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (WBRC) – The Jefferson County Department of Health is partnering with UAB to try to break the cycle of gun violence.

Jefferson County Health Department officials are stepping in with a new way to help try to end gun violence in the community after more than 650 people were treated in Jefferson County alone for injuries by bullet last year.

“Many of them are people who have lived in a very difficult environment and need help getting their lives back on track,” said Dr Mark Wilson, county health officer. “People who have suffered gunshot wounds, which someone tried to kill, need a lot of help. They were traumatized, not just physically, but emotionally.

Wilson said the program will help ensure victims can leave hospital safely, provide resources for mental health services and ensure they do not continue the cycle.

“It could be mental health services,” Wilson said. “It could be drug addiction treatment. This could mean completing your education and obtaining vocational training or a placement. Things to help them enter a new environment and follow a new trajectory. So, that they don’t come back to the hospital with a similar incident, or that they don’t shoot back and shoot someone else.

The Department of Health is using $ 1.1 million from its 2022 budget to fund the program, but it is asking the city of Birmingham for more than $ 2 million in federal funds to help it grow.

“There are so many incidents of gun violence that you really have to expand it to have a significant impact,” Wilson said. “A lot of homicides or gunshot wounds are happening in the city of Birmingham. “

Still working in partnership with community organizations, Wilson said they hope the program will roll out by the summer.

“Every life we ​​help is very important,” Wilson said. “We hope we can expand it to impact many lives.”

The city council will vote Tuesday, December 7 on the allocation of dollars from the American rescue plan to the intervention program.

City dollars would not be used until the second and third years of the program.

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