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Improving services for mental health and family violence

Monday 14th November, 2016

Improving services for mental health and family violence

Tasmanian Family Violence Service, SHE (Support, Help and Empowerment), has today released a Family Violence toolkit for mental health professionals. The toolkit provides a go to guide on the basics of working with people who are experience family violence.

This important new resource, being launched by Robin Banks, the Equal Opportunity Commissioner of Tasmania, also supports family violence training SHE has delivered to the mental health sector.

“With the growing awareness of the causes and prevalence of family violence in Tasmania, comes a responsibility for community services to be able to work effectively with those who are being impacted,” explained, Mental Health Council of Tasmania, CEO , Connie Digolis.

There is a significant body of research that links a bi-directional causal relationship between exposure to family violence and persistent mental health challenges. However, family violence is often a hidden problem among people seeking support for their mental health issues[i].

SHE Executive Officer, Alina Thomas states that, “if women are seeking help with symptoms of mental illness it can be very likely that family violence is an underlying issue. This resource will be the first of its kind to bring together the specialist practice of family violence intervention and the important work that is being done in the mental health sector.”

Under a grant received from the Partners in Recovery Tasmania, SHE has also designed and delivered a Champions Program to up skill those working in the mental health field to become more confident in responding to people experiencing mental health issues and family violence. The program has been an outstanding success with 12 people from across the state graduating from the intensive training today.

“Recognising and responding effectively to people who have experienced family violence requires specialist knowledge of the dynamics and conditions that they have experiences” explained Alina Thomas, Executive Officer of SHE

The SHE program has provided important insight and understanding to the complex issue’s surrounding mental health and family violence. It is anticipated that many people, both workers and the community they support will benefit from the new toolkit and training.

(If you need help, please call Family Violence Counselling and Support Services on 1800 608 122 or SHE on 6278 9090)

[i] TREVILLION, K., ORAM, S., FEDER, G., & HOWARD, L. M. (2012). Experiences of Domestic Violence and Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, PLoS ONE, 7(12)