A recent study, “Use of Mental Health Services by Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence,” released in the journal “Social Work and Mental Health,” sheds light on the inadequate use of mental health services by female survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). Domestic violence affects many Americans, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that more than 25 percent of women and 10 percent of men experience a form of physical violence, stalking, and/or rape in their lifetime, and that approximately 960,000 incidences of IPV take place yearly. Edmond, Bowland, and Yu found that the majority of IPV survivors in their study had either PTSD, clinical depression, or both. However, “the majority had not used any mental health services, even though they frequently reported services were accessible.” As one of the authors explains, primary care practitioners should screen for mental health conditions such as PTSD and depression and signs that a patient is experiencing IPV. Yu states:
"Medical professionals are uniquely positioned to screen for mental health problems, such as PTSD, depression and substance abuse disorders among IPV survivors and make appropriate referrals to other agencies or providers for treatment. Health providers play a critical role in intervening in the women's lives and potentially helping them end the abuse."
View the journal article here http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15332985.2012.734180?journalCode=wsmh20 and view the study announcement here http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/16414/20130611/domestic-abuse-intimate-partner-violence-mental-health-spousal-abuse.htm.