“People with mental illness more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of violence”

An international study published in The Lancet has added new evidence to suggest that mentally ill people have a higher than average risk of being the victim of violence.

The study’s research team (from John Moores University in Liverpool and the World Health Organization in Geneva) found that in general people with any sort of disability were at greater risk of violence. However, it found that mentally ill people are four times more likely than others to be attacked.

The report said the underlying reasons for this are complex. Researchers say people with mental illnesses are more likely to struggle with personal relationships, have a greater likelihood of substance abuse, homelessness, being imprisoned or living in poverty – each of which raises the risk of being the victim of violence.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of the charity Mind said: “Stigma and discrimination against people with mental health problems is still rife and sadly this can go as far as individuals being victimised in their communities or even targeted in their own homes.”

Simon Lawton Smith from the Mental Health Foundation said the study’s findings were unsurprising. He said: “Evidence shows that people with serious mental illness are more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the perpetrator.”

For more on this story please visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17182626

For information on Time to Change Wales the newly launched campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems please visit: http://www.timetochangewales.org.uk/home