Youngest witnesses to violent crime need help
Just hours after Chattanooga Police make an arrest in the city's 25th homicide of 2015, a local child psychologist laments the lack of necessary mental health funding for the youngest of witnesses to violent crime.
24-year old Christopher Lowe was arrested early Wednesday morning in the Tuesday fatal shooting of 20-year old Percy Allen.
Investigators believe the killing may have been an aggravated robbery taken too far. Allen's young daughter is believed to have watched her father gunned down
"If that child grows up and sees a spirit of cooperation, a spirit of a community that comes together to move through these things and past it and make a better community going forward, that child has a good picture of what they want their community to look like," says Chattanooga Deputy Police Chief David Roddy, as he discusses what officers say to the youngest of witnesses of violence, such as the daughter of the city's most recent homicide victim Percy Allen.
"Most people are aware of PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, I think that people tend to believe that it doesn't occur in children, but it does, says Child Psychologist Doctor Bill Hillner.
Hillner says children of today have far too many opportunities to encounter violence, from movies, media, video games and the like. But not enough get the appropriate cognitive behavior therapy they may need after witnessing such a violent episode Tuesday on East 28th street.
"Some kids get through it okay because they have very nurturing or caring parents, who are aware, or are sensitive to particular issues," says Hillner, but he cautions "best case scenarios" are too few and far between.
"They may have parents who are making things worse by the way they respond to the child's changes and behavior."
Hillner wants to see an improvement on the 5 percent of medical care spending dedicated to mental health.
"Right now we have 16, 20 psychiatrists that are in the Chattanooga area and many of them don't even take insurance because the reimbursement is so poor."