Improving violence victims' mental health

July 12, 2012
Improving violence victims' mental health

(Medical Xpress) -- New guidance developed by Cardiff experts to improve mental health outcomes for people affected by violence has been published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

People who are injured in or affected by , including , are at risk of developing problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and problems. But services to help these people are relatively underdeveloped.

The guidance, Managing the impact of on mental health, including among witnesses and those affected by homicide, is co-authored by Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Violence and Society Research Group and School of Dentistry, and Professor Jonathan Bisson, School of Medicine. They and the Royal College of Psychiatrists worked in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners, the College of Emergency Medicine and the national charity Victim Support.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Professor of , said: "Having treated people injured by violence for many years, I’m convinced that the mental health problems that are inflicted are often more serious and long-lasting than their physical injuries. About 300,000 victims of violence are treated in emergency departments in England and Wales each year and about 40 per cent of these will go on to have mental . But although the mental health impacts of violence are common, they are also often neglected. We hope this guidance will help make sure that people who are victims of violence get the help they need."

The new guidance includes a new stepped care pathway to show how emergency departments, GPs and the criminal justice system can work better together to identify those people who show signs of mental ill health and provide them with information about relevant support services.

The guidance recommends:

·      Health professionals who treat those affected by violence and the health services in which they work should be recognised as major advocates for victim health and wellbeing.

·        Doctors working in emergency settings should refer patients with signs of as a result of violence to third sector support services or to the patient's GP, depending on the severity.

·        Victim support and other competent statutory and third-sector personnel should refer victims and others affected by violence who demonstrate signs of mental ill health to primary care health professionals for further assessment.

Javed Khan, Chief Executive of Victim Support, said: "Our trained volunteers have been helping victims deal with the emotional and psychological effects of all kinds of crime for nearly 40 years. We are therefore keenly aware of the psychological impact that being a victim of violent crime can have. Victim Support has systems to identify and refer victims to mental health services, where it is needed. However, greater collaboration between all the agencies and individuals involved to ensure that more victims with trauma-related and mental health conditions are identified and appropriately referred would benefit all involved – not least victims. We look forward to working with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and other parties to ensure more get the help they need."

More information: Full report at the Royal College of Psychiatrists website: www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/PS01_2012.pdf

Related Stories

Trafficked women experience violence and poor health

May 29, 2012

Women who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation experience violence and poor physical and mental health but there is little evidence available about the health consequences experienced by trafficked children, men or ...

Recommended for you

Neural efficiency hypothesis confirmed

July 27, 2015

One of the big questions intelligence researchers grapple with is just how differences in intelligence are reflected in the human brain. Researchers at ETH Zurich have succeeded in studying further details relating to suspected ...

Fatherhood makes men fat

July 21, 2015

All those leftover pizza crusts you snatch from your kids' plates add up. Men gain weight after they become fathers for the first time whether or not they live with their children, reports a large, new Northwestern Medicine ...

Words jump-start vision, psychologist's study shows

July 21, 2015

Cognitive scientists have come to view the brain as a prediction machine, constantly comparing what is happening around us to expectations based on experience—and considering what should happen next.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.