Health initiatives to reduce violent behavior


Gary Slutkins article in Nature Human Behavior (2017) adresses violence as an epidemic that requires a specific public health approach. As for other epidemic diseases, he advocates identifying at-risk areas and treatment of affected and risk-exposed individuals with targeted interventions of specialized and supported health workers. These interventions require continuous training and supervision.

Gary Slutkin is the founder and CEO of Cure Violence, further details are in his talk :

This initiative is a good example of using a scientific public health approach to address a complex human behavior rooted of multifactorial origin without the unrealistic assumption that you need to treat every single cause.

This health-centred approach also takes into account the fact than punishment is not a useful method to drive behavior change. Alternative methods based on trust building, persuasion, reframing and modeling need to be trained in professionals dealing with at-risk populations, and also need to be disseminated in schools. As a clinician working with children and families with ADHD and comorbid conditions (an also as a mother with scool-aged children !!) I am particularly aware that we need a complete shift in public educational strategies.

In the same line of thought, let me introduce you to the philado network, that brings together professionals from different institutions working with adolescents in high-risk trajectories (most of them having histories of exposure to violence, violent behaviors in the context of conduct disorder, more or less associated with learning disorders and ADHD). The aim of this network is to facilitate constructive and shared project building and to follow-up actions, as we know that it is not always easy to stay connected and cooperative when professionals come from different institutions, each with their own professional culture and training background. To learn more about this initiative, funded by the regional agency of health of the Occitanie region in France and hosted and administered by the university hospital of Montpellier (, see our website at

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