KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gun violence injures hundreds of victims 18 years old and younger each year in the Kansas City area.
That's why the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department believes violence prevention should be treated as important as disease prevention.
"Sometimes it can be overwhelming to look at those numbers every day," Cynthia Carlson said.
Carlson is a special projects coordinator at the KCMO Health Department.
She said most of the time teenagers survive gun violence, including 656 aggravated assaults against Kansas City youth in 2017, but that's only the tip of the iceberg of the problem.
"It's not just the physical trauma that is obviously debilitating," Carlson said. "It's also the emotional affect that it has. That is scarring that is interior. You don't really see that."
To highlight this issue, she helped coordinate a series of videos ranging from 30 seconds to a minute in length.
Guns are the third leading cause of death in Americans 18 & under. Violence prevention is as important as disease prevention. #WearOrange 🔶 for National Gun Violence Prevention Day.#1is2many pic.twitter.com/RzxJJYOkY0— KCMO Health Dept (@KCMOHealthDept) June 7, 2019
The public service announcements feature the words of gun-violence survivors accompanied by pictures of their scars.
"It's very graphic, but it was intentional to be graphic to catch attention," Carlson said. "You have to show it and it has to be real. Otherwise, if you're just talking about it, you don't get to see the effect that it has."