NEW YORK, June 1 (Xinhua) -- For decades, young people in the United States exposed to shootings outside the home have been without access to the broad range of intervention efforts and support at various stages of life given to youth facing other forms of traumatic events, reported U.S. news portal BET on Tuesday, quoting pediatrician Nina Agrawal.
"We need to start recognizing that our children are experiencing trauma and it may not show up overtly, but we have to start recognizing it and listening," said Agrawal, who chairs the Gun Safety Committee for the New York state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Agrawal said her young patients who have witnessed the effects of gun violence are developing chest pain, headaches, and other health concerns, a commonality among youth experiencing a lack of sleep due to gun violence paranoia.
The more time a child spends on high alert, the more disruptions to the immune system and brain function occur, as well as effects on mental and behavioral health, said Agrawal.
As gun violence soars nationwide in the United States, children's health experts are advocating for such traumatic exposure to be considered what's known as an "adverse childhood experience," the report said. ■