How does domestic abuse affect mental health? How does DA affect mental health? Domestic abuse can have a long-lasting impact on an individual’s mental health and is associated with depression, anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is evidenced that individual’s suffering with mental health as a result of domestic abuse may experience disturbed sleeping patterns, commit or attempt suicide and develop substance misuse issues. Children who are exposed to domestic abuse have also been found to suffer with mental ill health. Some statistics show:16% of domestic abuse victims have considered attempting suicide as a result of the abuse (National Legal Service) 64% of domestic abuse survivors experience PTSD (Office of National Statistics) 60% of psychiatric inpatients had experienced severe domestic abuse (Office of National Statistics)What help is there for DA related mental health? Individuals may find it difficult to seek support for their mental health, however help is available. Counselling services can be accessed at low-cost rates, here at Next Chapter we can signpost individuals to services available. There are also many free courses and therapy sessions that can be accessed via the NHS https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/. Next Chapter can support men and women to approach their GP and discuss how they are feeling. Community Mental Health teams are available to offer support on a regular basis, alongside your allocated worker from Next Chapter who will be able to provide emotional support. Is there anything victims can do to protect their own mental health when affected by DA? The most effective way for victims to protect their own mental health is to reach out and talk to someone about how they are feeling. This could be a family member, a friend, a GP, or services such as Next Chapter. Practicing mindfulness and exercising, even just a walk in the fresh air have been proven to support wellbeing. Further ideas can be found at https://www.mind.org.uk/.