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Mental health

  • People's responses to an experience of sexual, domestic or family violence can vary
  • There are a range of responses that can be considered normal
  • Understanding the types of responses that traumatic events can bring about is an important part of getting the right support
  • If you have worries about your mental health there are a range of services that can support you

Mental health and trauma

An experience of sexual, domestic or family violence can be a significant and often ongoing traumatic event. A person's response to this event can vary considerably. What is seen as traumatic for one person may be less so for another.

The normal range of responses may include aggression, hyper-vigilance, anxiety, panic and depression. These responses are not necessarily a sign of a pre-existing mental illness. More serious reactions may include suicidal attempts or psychotic reactions. People can also misuse alcohol and/or other drugs as a way of coping with sexual assault or domestic and family violence.