With one month of 2017 remaining, the news recently has been awash with headlines revolving around gender, violence and mental health including: 1,000 women every year in Wales will develop PTSD after traumatic births; Vital opportunities are being missed when it comes to supporting victims of domestic abuse, and the ongoing reports of rape and sexual assault continue surrounding high profile celebrities.
With these headlines in mind it seems now more than ever, it is important that we look at the possible effects of such experiences upon the mental health of those individuals affected, as well as and what we know about what may help in the aftermath of such experiences.
At Psychology Wales, we recently welcomed a new Clinical Psychologist, Dr Rebekah Shallcross, who has a special interest in helping victim/survivors who have experienced domestic and sexual violence, as well as mental health difficulties in the perinatal period, whether that is through therapy or through the research she conducts in her role as a Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol.
Perhaps unsurprising, we know from the research that people who have experienced trauma, especially interpersonal trauma, including rape and sexual assault, are at greater risk of developing mental health problems including PTSD (Kessler et al., 2017).
If you are one of the many people affected, you can seek help and support by visiting your GP or other mental health professional. Research has shown that psychological treatment can be helpful to those experiencing such difficulties (Adshead, 2000) and is recommended for persistent symptoms by NICE guidance (NICE, 2005).
Adshead, G. (2000). Psychological therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder. British Journal of Psychiatiry, 177, 144-148.
Kessler, R. C., Aguilar-Gaxiola, S., Alonso, J., et al., (2017). Trauma and PTSD in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 8, 1-16.
National Istitute for Health Care and Clinical Excellence (NICE), (2005). Post traumatic stress disorder: management. nice.org.uk/guidance/cg26
More information about the following can be found at:
Links to the news stories in the first paragraph: