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Breaking the Cycle | Counselors see an increase in need for mental health resources as teen violence grows

As we've been reporting, this is an unprecedented year for youth violence in Louisville. JCPS teens say they're being affected by the death of their peers.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Amid updates to Tyree Smith's case, Louisville students are speaking up about teen violence.

Counseling service Martin & Muir, who partner with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) , said they're seeing an increase in mental health issues in the school system. Martin & Muir said the biggest problem is that kids don't feel safe with Louisville breaking records for violence in back-to-back years. 

Students across JCPS are speaking out.

"What happens when it's on a bus stop when you're waiting for a school bus, and then you get shot? You know, we don't talk about how to prepare for situations like that. Because the reality is we don't know how to prepare for that," said Pleasure Ridge Park High School student Emma Dobson.

Records show this year JCPS confiscated 12 guns from 10 different schools. Lauren Muir, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with Martin & Muir, said there isn't a safe space due to the city-wide increase in gun violence.

"You got to make sure you keep your head on a swivel like anything can happen at any moment in time," said Central High School student, Keshawn Johnson.

Jeriah McMillan, a W.E.B. DuBois Academy student, said kids will see other people with guns and want to be like them. So they will grab their own to "try to fit in more."   

There have been 180 homicides in 2021, and of those, 23 victims were younger than 18. That's nearly 13%.

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