Mental health and domestic abuse

One of our Outreach Officers, Justine, is leading on wellbeing within the team and discusses the relationship between mental health and domestic abuse.

Research has shown that there is a definite link between experiencing domestic abuse and mental health problems.

With domestic abuse leading to mental health problems or having experienced mental health problems can leave those more vulnerable to experience domestic abuse.

A study from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and University of Birmingham found that women experiencing domestic abuse were three times more likely to develop mental health problems and also three times likely to have had some form of mental health problems previously.

Taking advantage of someone’s mental health is another way of a perpetrator abusing them. This can include withholding medication, telling someone that they are unable to cope without them and deliberately confusing them so they doubt their ability. This leaves many victims and survivors of domestic abuse feeling like they are unable to disclose the abuse through fear that they will not be believed.

“Many survivors insist they’re not courageous: ‘If I were courageous I would have stopped the abuse.’ ‘If I were courageous, I wouldn’t be scared’… Most of us have it mixed up. You don’t start with courage and then face fear. You become courageous because you face your fear.” ― Laura Davis

Domestic abuse can have a long term psychological and emotional impact on the survivor recovering from the trauma experienced and rebuilding confidence and self esteem can be a long process. But it’s important to remember that support is available.

“The advice I’d give to somebody that’s silently struggling is, you don’t have to live that way. You don’t have to struggle in silence. You can be un-silent. You can live well with a mental health condition, as long as you open up to somebody about it, because it’s really important you share your experience with people so that you can get the help that you need.” — Demi Lovato

If you are struggling with your mental health here are some links you can follow to find support:

If you are experiencing domestic abuse or are affected by past domestic abuse, we are here to help you. You can contact us on or call our support line on 01773 719111.