WBEZ News | "On Parkland Anniversary, Chicago Teens Call For More Mental Health Supports"

On the anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., a group of teens and adults affected by gun violence in Chicago fought back tears Thursday as they recounted their experiences and called for more mental health services in schools across Illinois.

They are with a youth advocacy group called VOYCE — Voices of Youth in Chicago Education. Their special guest was Brandon Dasent, a survivor of the Parkland shooting.

“Unlike many of my peers in Parkland, I was no stranger to gun violence before the shooting,” Dasent said. “I grew up in an area where day-to-day violence was common. We tried escaping gun violence, but exactly one year ago today, it found us again. Ever since Feb. 14, 2018, I’ve been solely curing myself through activism … through meeting with others like you all, who share the same initiatives as I do when it comes to gun violence.”  

Surrounded by behavioral and mental health experts at Lurie Children’s Hospital, Dasent and VOYCE leaders launched a campaign called Rethinking Safety. It calls for more behavioral and mental health support for students through grant programs, more investments in school-based clinics and evidence-based research to document the school-to-prison pipeline.

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