CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – A regional roundtable Thursday sought to address problems of violence and guns in Hampton Roads, sharing issues they’re dealing with and some possible ways to address them.

Local mayors and chief administrative officers, along with invited experts, talked about how mental health issues and trauma are leading to violence.

“Poor housing, inadequate housing, all those add to trauma for multiple families,” said David Coe with Colonial Behavioral Health.

The experts say unaddressed trauma is real. Young children, especially, experience significant trauma that is not professionally addressed.

“It’s not always big traumatic things, but little traumas that are unaddressed become big traumas, and many of them are dramatic and devastating when they first occur.”

Darrell Redmond was there, and he knows all about unaddressed trauma as a child.

“I grew up with a mother addicted to cocaine,” Redmond said. “I grew up with a father who did it. So, there was a lot of traumas I witnessed, along with a murder, at a young age.”

“I served 25 years in prison,” Redmond said in a WAVY report last June.

Redmond served time, long time and now operates Give Back 2 Da Block, reaching out to at risk children “so that unaddressed trauma brings pain, and you start acting out and rebelling,” he said.

Coe told a story about traumatic rage in a 6-month-old.

“He was a six-month-old baby boy. His face turned red, clinched,” Coe said. “The first knuckles and palm were white, and he trembled in rage. A six-month-old child. What type of trauma had that child seem to be there already?”

Coe wonders where that six-month-old, now 35 years old, is now.

What also came up is the need for more funding for mental health services in our schools.

What came out there is not enough personnel to treat all the children who need mental health services.

“I think one of the big challenges is volume,” said Kim Dellinger with Bacon Street Youth and Family Services. “To be honest, we have so many young people in our school systems right now, and we can’t provide adequate behavioral health and mental health services for all those kids on a regular basis.”

Dellinger noted that she is working with four school systems on the Peninsula and seeking $1.8 million in federal funds to close funding gaps.

“It would provide one clinician in each of our high schools, and a half-time clinician in our middle schools,” Dellinger said, “and it is a drop in the bucket of what needs to be there.”

Looking back Redmond said that he did not get the services he needed.

“The only thing I got in school was, ‘He is hyperactive, he was this, and that,'” Redmond said, “but being referred to get a psychological evaluation, no. That is why I fight for people being incarcerated as well.”

Tanetta Hassell is with Western Tidewater Community Services Board. It is getting creative in funding programs that aren’t reaching enough children in need.

“We do that by billing Medicaid and commercial insurance to offer clinical services and case management services,” Hassell said, “As you can imagine, that is limiting.”

Virginia Beach is ramping up a Rapid Response Program.

“We’ve taken two of our clinicians, and they will rapidly respond to any school who wants a child assessed,” said Aileen Smith with the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services, “and this is just in elementary schools – we have 40 in Virginia Beach.”

They are already talking about expanding the program for schools.

All spoke about insufficient resources, and what they’re doing about it.

Coe added that the Williamsburg Childhood Assessment Center works.

“It is a place where people, families, friends, parents, schools can call and say something is going on – ‘I do not know what it is, but can we take a look at what it is,'” Coe said.

Dellinger spoke about a lacking pipeline.

“The pool of applicants is woefully low, if not empty,” Dellinger said. “We do not have enough resources and ways to provide incentives who will come up and be tomorrow’s clinical professionals.”

Beginning in June, Virginia Beach is doing a Summer Night Lights, offering free food and entertainment. The city got the idea from Los Angeles.

“We are going to offer all these activities and try to engage our youth to come out,” Dellinger said, “instead of spending their time doing other things in the community that may actually lead to trouble.”