This blog is based on a talk I delivered at an event Jennifer Beckford, who founded the Nicholas Stewart Project arranged to promote health and well being in relation to gun and knife crime. The event was held on 3rd February 2018. This is the second blog in this series on gun and knife crime that I have promised to post in the run up to the official launch of the Psychological Thinktank for Ethnic Minorities which is happening in South London on 21st April. Jennifer founded the project after her son Nicholas Stewart who was 25 years old was stabbed in Wandsworth. He was stabbed on 13th August 2014 but died shortly afterwards. Jennifer vowed to help those harmed by gun and knife crime by spreading awareness about the dangers of gun and knife crime on her local estate, the famous Henry Prince Estate which the current Mayor of London Sadiq Khan grew up on. When I spoke in February there had been some deaths but the current epidemic was not ravaging the country like it is now.
But what I delivered then still very much applies now. The solution that I raise may resonate with you and I hope it helps amidst the chaos and helplessness and hopelessness out there. With my 27 years of experience as a Social Worker and as a Trauma Recovery Coach, I hope it helps to offer solace. I found it hard to talk about health and well-being in connection to gun and knife crime. The two do not seem connected? According to World Health Organisation 1946
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. “
In 1986 World Health Organisation said
“health is a resource for everyday life”
I believe health is a resource many of the young people I work with do not have. Some of the young people I work with come from families where food is scarce or not cooked and there is no love or attention. Some of the young people are used to abuse, neglect and trauma. Many of these young people turn to fast food, Chicken and Chips which is cooked with money in mind not love. So if you are not fed with love, care and attention emotionally, physically or psychologically, you do not end up giving a lot of love to those around you. You tend to react with fear or you search for love in places that take advantage of you. Fear is the biggest disease in our society today.
Social Media does not help. It spreads fear like wild fire.
According to Dictionary.com
“Well being is a condition of existence or a state characterised by health, happiness and prosperity.”
I am not going to focus on material prosperity but emotional, spiritual and psychological prosperity. In yesterday’s blog I wrote about the disconnect among us. Our young people are feeling it more. The one thing I know as a Social Worker and a Trauma Recovery Coach is that a safe space can be a life-line for young people especially when they can connect to an adult they can learn to trust having been let down by many adults in their lives. At the Youth Offending Team reception when a young person walks through the door, they find a bowl full of fruit and different healthy snack bars. We do not only replenish their bodies but their minds and souls as well. Most Youth Offending Teams are multi-disciplinary comprising of Social Workers, Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Mental Health Nurses and together we facilitate young people to explore their friendships and family relationships and experiences at school. Many young people, Youth Offending Teams work with are excluded from school and their Special Educational needs are usually not diagnosed until they enter the Criminal Justice System. We in Youth Offending Teams do not just focus on their offending but try to make them understand themselves. The offence is just one event in their life. Behind every offence is the story of their lives. As well as the victims of gun and knife-crime, the perpetrators have also had a tragic life. But the media demonises these perpetrators. But these perpetrators are also our sons and daughters. They may not be related by blood but by community. They live in our communities and the health of our society and our communities are failing because we have stopped feeling. We are numb to the fact that so many young people are being stabbed. Are we become desensitized? Have we started seeing gun and knife-crime as normal?
There was a time that most people only saw gun and knife crime by watching it on TV and Cinema. That was my childhood! West Side Story the Musical now seems like Reality TV. Amma Sophie Rose an alchemist says
“To truly heal a sick society must be willing to release toxic emotions which plague the body. To get out of the spiritual by-pass we need to start feeling. Toxic emotions attract the hungry ghosts of addiction and form disease in the body.”
Many of the young people that I work with, find it difficult to be in their bodies because they are haunted by the ghosts of the distant or recent past or even current trauma or live in the future dreaming of escaping the chaos they find themselves in
As a Social Worker in the Youth Offending Team, I help young people focus on here and now and help them set goals for the future as well as to understand the past and look at why they think and behave in a certain way. Health and Well-being are holistic concepts. As a Trauma Recovery Coach I help men and women by doing exactly the same thing to get them to regain confidence in themselves and reconnect with friends and family. Trauma can isolate you from others and nowadays there are few safe private spaces to explore how the past may be impacting our lives. I encompass a holistic approach and if you want more clarity as to how I can support you, please book a call using the link below: