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Domestic violence: the hidden epidemic associated with mental illness

  • Kelsey Hegarty (a1)
Summary

Despite domestic violence being a very common problem in individuals with severe mental illness, there is very little research in this setting. Multiple barriers exist to disclosure by users and enquiry by providers. Training and systems for identification and responding to domestic violence are urgently needed in mental health clinics.

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References
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1 Hegarty, K. What is domestic violence and how common is it? In Intimate Partner Abuse and Health Professionals: New Approaches to Domestic Violence (eds Roberts, G, Hegarty, K, Feder, G): 1940. Elsevier, 2006.
2 Campbell, J, Laughon, K, Woods, A. Impact of intimate partner abuse on physical and mental health: how does it present in clinical practice? In Intimate Partner Abuse and Health Professionals: New Approaches to Domestic Violence (eds Roberts, G, Hegarty, K & Feder, G): 4360. Elsevier, 2006.
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16 Warshaw, C, Taft, A. Educating health professionals: changing attitudes and overcoming barriers. In Intimate Partner Abuse and Health Professionals: New Approaches to Domestic Violence (eds Roberts, G, Hegarty, K, Feder, G): 6178. Elsevier, 2006.
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Domestic violence: the hidden epidemic associated with mental illness

  • Kelsey Hegarty (a1)
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eLetters

A different link

Steve McCrea, Mental health professional, None
14 December 2017

As a mental health professional, I have observed another link between domestic abuse vicitmization and mental health services. As we have spent more time investigating possible biological causes and interventions for mental health difficulties, we have forgotten that most such difficulties are caused by stress and trauma. Too many clients are treated as a collection of symptoms and the focus is on making them "less depressed" or "less anxious" instead of figuring out what is happening in their lives to create anxious or depressed feelings. As a result, we fail to create a safe space for victims to overcome their understandable embarrassment and share the challenges they face with their providers. It seems to me it's time to push "diagnosis" into the background and spend more time getting to know our clients and their lives. Of course, it's a horrible shame that funds are being diverted away from this need just as it is becoming more apparent. ... More

Conflict of interest: None Declared

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