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. 

The normal range of responses may include aggression, hyper-vigilance, anxiety, panic and depression.

Understanding these reactions as a response to a traumatic incident is important so that the right help can be accessed. Specialist trauma counsellors, mental health professionals and other professionals specialising in alcohol and substance misuse are available to provide support.

If you are experiencing psychological distress as a result of an experience of sexual assault or domestic and family violence, 1800RESPECT can provide initial support to you and refer you to more specialist support.

GPs are also able to provide some initial support and can organise for specialist support from a Medicare accredited mental health professional.