The costs of gun violence

April 11, 2022 – Gun violence survivors and their families face increased risk of mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders, according to a new study. In addition, healthcare spending on survivors is roughly four times higher than spending on uninjured peers, the study found.

David Hemenway, professor of health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, called the research part of “a broad and growing literature documenting the enormous costs that gun violence imposes on our society—costs that are far larger than deaths and immediate injuries.” Hemenway, who was not part of the study, commented on the findings in an April 4, 2022 article in Harvard Magazine.

“Many studies have shown that exposure to violence—as a victim, bystander, or even just a part of the community—is associated with subsequent higher rates of lifetime mental and physical health problems, and that exposure to gun violence can be particularly detrimental to long-term health,” Hemenway said. He noted that the new research “provides more evidence that the scope of our firearm problem is far greater than suggested by merely counting dead and injured bodies.”

Read the Harvard Magazine article: Gun Violence