Jashawnda Dunigan, 41, has been seeing a therapist at OSF HealthCare in Peoria, Ill., since her stepson died in September 2020—shot and killed shortly after his 21st birthday.
The family’s court advocate suggested Dunigan and her husband reach out to OSF Strive Trauma Recovery Center, a program OSF HealthCare launched to help victims of violent crimes dealing with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The Strive program provides those who have experienced a violent crime, as well as those affected, like family members, free counseling and connects them with other wraparound services.
“When you go through murder (by) gun violence, it shatters you,” Dunigan said. This wasn’t her first traumatic experience with gun violence; in 2013, Dunigan’s brother and his girlfriend were shot and killed in their home. The same day, Dunigan’s brother-in-law died after being physically attacked.
In addition to a therapist, who Dunigan meets with once every two weeks, the Strive program also connected her with a case manager who can share community resources and social services. Dunigan hasn’t needed much help—she has a background in family and community resources—but so far, the case manager has worked with her to sign up for health insurance.
Dunigan said therapy has helped her work through questions and emotions, including reminding her that it’s OK to feel angry.