Creating a neighborhood, not a hood

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has declared that life in the inner city can create health problems that make it tougher for young people there to learn.

Coweta County may have certain individuals, who, although are not in the inner city, suffer from Urban Traumatic Stress Disorder (UTSD), coined by some as “hood disease.” The CDC says that many of these children live in virtual war zones. These children and persons with UTSD suffer from rape, broken homes and families, as well as theft, burglary and murder in their own communities.

People who suffer from UTSD on a daily basis face stress and trauma in their own neighborhoods and homes akin to a war zone. UTSD, according to the study, is a more complex form of PTSD, but worse. The CDC estimates that nearly 30 percent of U.S. inner-city youths are affected by this form of PTSD.

Hood disease is worse because soldiers in war zones eventually leave the war zone, while youth in urban war zones rarely escape their own communities. They are repeatedly exposed to stress from youth and into adulthood.

Pastor Tamarkus Cook, president of Coweta County NAACP and head of the Strong Dads Initiative, which was birthed out of five shootings in five days in Coweta County, which caused the death of two, believes that “UTSD can be minimized as persons seek to create a community where both spiritual and mental health needs are met and families are at the heart of the people.”

As an associate pastor and chaplain who cares for persons who suffer from PTSD, I do not foresee adding another disease to the list of government’s official affliction list as beneficial. This disease should not encourage persons to seek temporary or permanent assistance from the government, but it should motivate people to begin to embrace their community, creating a neighborhood, not a hood. Let us continue to make Coweta County a community where persons find help, healing and hope.

I’d like to challenge you that if you don’t know your neighbors or you don’t have a faith community, join one and eradicate this madness known as “hood disease.” Let’s not be a society where we just point out the flaws and not take proper action to create reconciliation and recovery. If we do not seek change, many of the same problems we see today and heard about yesterday will not go away.

The Rev. Harry D. Gatewood III


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