News & Press

Managing mental health to help mitigate violence

MACON, Ga -- Recently in Macon there's been multiple violent crimes.

Experts say that many violent acts happen in the heat of the moment and death is typically unintentional.

A rush of emotions, fear of getting hurt and cultural influence are all drivers that could cause someone to react more violently than they intend.

Doctors say it's important to learn how to control your emotions at a young age so you can channel knee jerk reactions when you are older.

The limbic system is an area of the brain that plays a role in our emotional responses; people often refer to this as the downstairs or privative part of the brain.

Our ability to reason is located in the upstairs part of the brain scientifically known as the neocortex. The upstairs part of the brain isn't fully developed until age 25.

Doctors say the ability to reason out consequences can be more challenging for people under 25, making age another possible driver for violence. There isn't a way to develop our ability to reason and think deeply faster, but there are some practical steps we can all take that help control our emotional responses.

CEO of River Edge Behaviorial Health Dr. Shannon Gordon says, "practicing things like mindfulness, practicing appropriate breathing; practicing 'if I don this then what happens' because our brain is just this miraculous organ where the more you practice the more pathways get built."

Dr. Gordon says often times we can't control the first thought but its our choice whether or not we want to control the thought that comes next.

She often tells her patients to "keep your mind where you behind is," meaning stay present in the moment. This can help you reason out the consequences before a violent tragedy.

Dr. Gordan also wants to dispel the myth that those who commit violent crimes suffer from mental illness.

"People tend t o think that violence has to do with mental illness but in reality more people who have mental illness are victims of crime then they are perpetrators of crime. In many ways they are seen as more vulnerable by people who have a predatory way of living," Dr. Gordon.

She also emphasizes the importance of practicing practical and healthy mental health habits early on in life, such as being mindful and appropriate breathing.

Sometimes the only way to win a fight is to not get in the ring. - Dr. Shannon Gordon CEO River Edge Behavioral Health

She also wants to encourage anyone who has suffered a loss this year to allow yourself to grieve in a healthy way.

If you feel you are struggling or want more guidance on how to healthily handle emotions call 478-803-7600.