Use of mental health services by survivors of intimate partner violenceedit
Fifty women survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) were recruited from a legal advocacy program to participate in a study designed to assess current rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and alcohol and substance abuse among a sample of abused women and to examine the types of services survivors of IPV had used in the previous 12 months. In addition, the authors sought to understand how the presence of substance abuse, PTSD, and/or depression affects access and utilization of services by IPV survivors. Fifty-four percent of these IPV survivors were experiencing either PTSD, clinical depression, or both. While women with either PTSD or depression used a significantly larger number of services overall, the majority had not used any mental health services, even though they frequently reported services were accessible. Given the high rates of PTSD and depression in this sample, these abused women were clearly not receiving adequate mental health care. Furthermore, many reported having trouble accessing housing, legal services, crisis lines, and medical care—services that are fundamental to safety. Practitioners working with abused women should assess for PTSD and depression, and be prepared to either treat each condition or provide effective referrals.