Georgia Steinheimer

The Effects of Gun Violence Exposure on the Mental Health of Low-Income Students

Mentor: Kevin Rutherford

Proposed Project

I am developing an accessible research paper on the effects of gun violence on mental health in low-income communities, to explore how that affects students who end up in higher education. The paper aims to educate those with more privilege and includes a proposal for the UCSB campus to create a more specific resource for students with this type of trauma, as these students are all too often left behind and forgotten to the point where they are not all able to continue in a higher education setting. I bring a personal perspective to this, coming from a low-income community that experiences gun violence regularly. Each year since I have begun my bachelor’s degree, a man of color I know from my community has been lost to gun violence; I am doing this for them and those who couldn’t be here today. Expanding from here, I will do my own work to give back to my community, which I feel needs it most.

Final Project

My project discusses the implications of gun violence on the mental health of youth in communities that have been systemically abandoned, which are often low-income communities of color. My work analyzes the ways in which trauma and mental illness (most commonly complex PTSD) affect these youth on a daily basis, causing challenges that can last a lifetime. The paper also evaluates solutions like mentorships and medical interventions, especially keeping in mind the way that criminalization and neglect of folks in these communities is a key cause of this violence, perpetuated even further by racially-disproportionate, mass incarceration.

Read my research paper.