TRIGGER WARNING: The following article contains information on domestic violence and mental health.
World Mental Health Day (today) falls right in line with the middle of DVA month. This is the perfect opportunity to talk about how domestic violence can affect one’s mental health. It is so important to recognize how one’s behavior and treatment toward others can seriously affect their lives in more ways than ever imaginable. Society often does not acknowledge the mental effects that Domestic Violence can have on a person but statistics continue to tell the difficult truth.
According to the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV), over 50% of women who currently live with a mental illness have experienced some sort of physical or sexual violence throughout their lives. Those who are exposed to abuse are more likely to have suicidal tendencies and turn to substance abuse.
Research from FCADV indicates:
54% to 84% of abused women suffer from PTSD,
63% to 77% of abused women experience depression, and
38% to 75% experience anxiety.
According to the Journal of Mental Health and Human Behavior, the occurrence of domestic violence “was found to be 45.6% among patients suffering from depressive disorders, 27.6% in anxiety disorders, and 61% for PTSD.” Due to this increase of mental illness in these victims, they are also at a higher risk of staying in or returning to an abusive relationship.
According to the FCADV, children who are exposed to domestic violence are “at risk for developmental delays, psychiatric disorders, school difficulties, aggressive behavior, and low self-esteem.” According to the American Bar Association (2009), between 3.3 million and 10 million children witness domestic violence annually.
Although mental health issues are obviously evident in abusive relationships, there seems to be a small recognition and even smaller amount of studies involved in this problem. Its our duty as sisters of Alpha Chi Omega to understand and truly recognize the effects of domestic violence. This month and from here on out, dedicate yourself to raising awareness for this common issue that is plaguing our society. If you do, you might just save a sister, a friend, a classmate, or a stranger.
The Alpha Chi HQ website states, “as champions of change, our leadership around this issue is creating lasting impact in our local communities and the world.” With this loving sisterhood, we can do anything we set our minds to. Let’s change the world, one sister at a time.
Sagar R, Hans G. Domestic violence and mental health. J Mental Health Hum Behav [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Oct 9];23:2-3. Available from: http://www.jmhhb.org/text.asp?2018/23/1/2/244924
“Trauma, Mental Health and Domestic Violence.” Trauma, Mental Health and Domestic Violence | Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, www.fcadv.org/projects-programs/trauma-mental-health-and-domestic-violence.