Monday September 16th 2019

Call to end violence

The American Nurses Association (ANA) spearheaded a call to action, which was signed on by more than 40 state and specialty nurses organizations, urging President Obama, Congress and policymakers at the state and local levels to take swift action to address factors that together will help prevent senseless acts of violence like the recent school shooting in Connecticut.

“Like the rest of the nation, America’s nurses are heartbroken as we grieve the unthinkable loss and profound tragedy that unfolded in Newtown. This horrific event is a tipping point and serves as a call to action,” said ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Our country has witnessed unspeakable acts of mass shootings. The common thread in each of these tragedies has been the lethal combination of easy access to guns and inadequate access to mental health services.”

ANA and the nation’s nurses are calling on policymakers to:

• Restore access to mental health services for individuals and families.

• Increase students’ access to nurses and mental health professionals from elementary school through college.

• Ban assault weapons and enact other meaningful gun control reforms to protect society.

As the largest single group of health care professionals, RNs witness firsthand the devastation from injuries sustained from gun violence. Nurses also witness the trauma of individuals, families and communities affected by violence.

Over the past decade, cutbacks within schools and community health care systems have seriously impeded critical and needed access to school nurses and mental health professionals trained to recognize and intervene early with those who are at risk for violent behavior.

The public mental health system has sustained a period of devastating cuts over time. These cuts have been exacerbated during the Great Recession despite an increase in the demand for services for all populations, including our nation’s veterans. Further, states have cut vital services, such as community and hospital-based psychiatric care, housing and access to medications. And looming budget cuts could lead to additional cuts in services.

The call to action was distributed to the president, congressional leaders, the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and media outlets across the country. ANA’s Daley attended a meeting convened by Vice President Biden on Jan. 3 in his efforts to engage a wide range of stakeholders in discussions to inform the administration’s proposal released Jan. 16 to address the epidemic of gun violence in this country.

To read the call to action, go to

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