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What's behind the increase in gun violence? | Here's what psychologists say

They said a history of violence, substance abuse and aggression could be signs someone may eventually end up committing a crime.

ATLANTA — You may be wondering what's behind a recent increase in violence in Metro Atlanta, especially on the weekends.

Psychologists believe stress and anxiety may be contributing to it, in addition to a lack of conflict resolution. Instead of people talking about issues, they're seeing a rise of people turning to gun violence to solve those problems. 

A neighborhood dealt with what police suspect was a murder-suicide, and three people got shot, one fatally, over what investigators said started as an argument over a blocked-in car, both of which happened only hours apart on Saturday morning.

“I think that it comes from people having a level of stress, as well as experiencing things that they’ve never experienced in their lives and not really knowing how to cope with those things," Sinclaire Johnson said.

Johnson is with the Georgia chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health and believes another reason for violent situations is people still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It may drive people to do things they wouldn’t particularly do, or it may drive people to behavior they’re not particularly used to. It could contribute to the crime factor," she said. 

Crime has been plaguing the Atlanta are for multiple weekends in a row. Last Sunday, a ball game turned violent.

“That is alarming and disturbing," Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said. “At Dunbar, we essentially had a mass shooting where six individuals were shot. Two are now deceased, and that happened at a city park on a Sunday.”

"We look to encourage our police departments also to onboard a mental health professional," said Miriam Goodfriend, advocacy manager with NAMI Georgia. 

Those with NAMI - or the National Alliance on Mental Illness - said if you're stressed out to seek out therapy and find an outlet for your stress.

“We always say seek help, ask for help, look for friends you can talk to," Goodfriend said. 

“One of the ways we can avoid getting ourselves into dangerous situations is to be aware of our surroundings. That’s something we always do, especially in the evenings but also in unknown neighborhoods," said State Rep. Leesa Hagan, (R-Lyons).

You're also encouraged to call police if you notice something that looks suspicious. 

The mental health professionals believe socioeconomic factors and online bullying could be contributing to the spike in crime. 

They also added that a history of violence, substance abuse and aggression could be signs someone may eventually end up committing a crime. 

   

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