mental health

Local Organizations Joining Together to Find Ways to Interrupt the Pathways to Mass Violence

Interrupting Pathways to Mass Violence conference to be held March 1st at Texas Wesleyan University

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Since the beginning of the year, there have been 85 mass shootings across the U.S., with nine being in Texas, according to Gun Violence Archive.

Now, a group of North Texas organizations is working to find pathways to interrupt mass violence.

Scenes of mass violence, like the Feb. 15 mall shooting in El Paso, are becoming too common for Virginia Hoft, the executive director of Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County.

"This is an epidemic right now," she said. "If we just continue to go, ‘oh there is another one and there's another one’, and not really dig in deeper about what's really going on, then this will be America. It's not OK for this to be America for me."

She's organizing a conference March 1 called Interrupting the Pathways to Mass Violence.

The authors of the book, "The Violence Project, How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic," will present key findings about how to spot warning signs. Those could include childhood trauma, depression or suicidal thoughts.

"So, there is no one profile for a mass shooter,” Hoft said. “There are multiple pathways that this happens. But also, it gives us a lot of opportunities along the way to interrupt that.”

The organizations One Safe Place in Fort Worth and United Way Tarrant County are also partnering with the event.

"It doesn't have to happen here,” United Way Tarrant County President and CEO Leah King said. “If we really commit to working together. Identifying what some of those characteristics are and then deploying our resources, attention, and time towards interrupting those very things that may be the precursor to something very, very tragic happening."

They want everyone attending to learn there's a way to try to stop the violence before it ever happens.

"Folks aren't monsters,” Hoft said. “Hurt people hurt people and if I can be there when someone is telling me they’re hurt then I may interrupt a pathway that I may never even know I interrupted."

The conference will be held March 1 on the campus of Texas Wesleyan University. Tickets cost $25. For more registration information click here.

To learn more about the participating organizations click on their name.

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