Youth gangs and mental health: trajectories, risks, and resilience
Youth violence is a leading worldwide public health problem and a major cause of mental illness both in developing and developed countries. In Brazil, between 1980 and 2010, the rate of youth homicide (deaths by aggression among people under 20 years old) increased by 346%. The World Health Organization’s World Report on Violence and Health suggests that, in Brazil, 39.7 % of deaths among young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in Brazil resulted from homicides, whereas, among adults, homicides accounted only for 1.8 % of deaths.Young people who are exposed to violence often face multiple disadvantages (e.g. urban poverty, deprivation, overcrowding), all of which increase risk of mental health problems. Exposure to violence has been linked to increased rates mental health problems (e.g. depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation) and estimates suggest as many as one in three young people who offend have an unmet mental health need. However, the patterns of association between mental health and exposure to violence remain unclear, especially the relative effects of distal and proximal events and the cumulative effects of multiple exposure, and this limits our ability to intervene effectively.The overall aim of my mixed-methods study is to investigate the interrelationships between exposure to violence, mental health outcomes, and service use in a sample of adolescents from highly deprived urban area in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
2 – Life Course, Psychology, & Health