Gunshot Survivor Mental Health: Jalil Frazier’s Story
Jalil Frazier is a hard-working father who is always at the ready to help a friend in need. He was shot trying to prevent a robbery at a neighborhood barber shop. He woke up in a hospital weeks later, unable to talk or walk. “I was so heartbroken. The only thing I thought was, ‘How you going to take away something from the good guy?’”
Although Jalil recovered his ability to speak, he remained paralyzed and is working hard to adjust to his new life. In addition to the physical challenges he faces, Jalil knows that the mental challenges brought on by his injury—fighting the “dark place” his mind wants to travel to when he feels low—are equally important to discuss and address.
Still, his spirit remains inspiringly positive. “The goal is to never give up,” he says, echoing the message he has tattooed onto his arm.
Jalil’s gunshot survivor mental health journey of recovery is the latest of our four-part series “Beyond the Bullet: Gunshot Violence Survivors Speak.” The series presents members of the Gun Violence Survivors’ Support Group, based in Philadelphia, who tell of their journeys of pain and healing, isolation and community, and, most beautifully, stories of recovery, love and support.
Gunshot Survivor Mental Health Support Group
Jalil is one of the founding members of the support group. He is newer to his wheelchair than most other members and wrestles daily with his new identity. He tries to focus on his abilities rather than his disability (“Anything that my arms are able to do I’m going to do”) and is grateful for the support that the group provides. “The group helped me a lot,” he says. “I wasn’t a talking person…but the group has made me open up more and I don’t want to keep no secrets. I want you to know how hard this is. There should be no secrets, give it to you raw, how exactly it is.”
Above all, Jalil still wants to be “the good guy.”
“Yeah, I’m in the wheelchair, but I want to continue to be that helpful person, the good person.”
All of the voices in this series deserve our attention. Their lives are the window into the very human suffering that gun violence has on our society, and their stories are filled with a strength and resilience that is awe-inspiring.