AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – May is “Mental Health Awareness” month and a time to evaluate the affects of various traumas on victims of domestic violence.
SafeHomes Domestic Violence Center in Augusta has been a resource for victims since 1979.
Executive Director Aimee Hall says, “on average, more than half of the women we see have been abused by an intimate partner.”
According to Women’s Advocate of Saint Paul, Minnesota, “On average, more than half of the women seen in mental health settings are being or have been abused by an intimate partner.”
“The women and men we serve have experienced a lot of trauma. That abuse can in turn cause symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, self destructive behavior and depression,” explains Aimee Hall.
Domestic violence abuse can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which has the ability to result in long term effects and impact a variety of areas in one’s life.
“The ways in which a victim-survivor’s mental health can be impacted can include: difficulties with being productive at work, school, with caregiving, establishing and engaging in healthy relationships, and adapting to change and coping with adversity,” reports Women’s Advocate.
Aimee Hall of SafeHomes recommends various avenues for victims of domestic violence to find help.
“Find resources, counseling through SafeHomes or any other mental health provider. Work on self care. Remember their worth. They don’t deserve abuse.”
She says many victims believe they are to blame which is not the case.
Women’s Advocate recommends the following approaches to promote mental health wellness for victims and survivors:
- Create an emotional safety plan
- Develop a self-care plan
- Explore survivor’s strengths
- Learn more about setting personal boundaries
- Try out various simple mindfulness exercises
- Seek professional mental health support
Aimee Hall of SafeHomes highly recommend victims, and survivors, develop a support system.
For victims in the C.S.R.A, SafeHomes provides resources such as individual counseling, support groups, parenting classes as well as child and teen support groups for those who have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse.
To get help locally, contact SafeHomes Domestic Violence Center at (706) 736-2499 or 1-800-799-SAFE. Also, in South Carolina contact the Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons at (803) 649-0480.