This article covers
- What is Abuse?
- Effects of abuse on mental health
- With whom or where to get help?
What is Abuse?
Abuse refers to any type of harm that is intentionally done to you by another person. It can happen over a long period of time or it can happen only once, or a few times.
Abuse is often about power and control. If you feel that someone is taking advantage of you or is causing any kind of harm to you on purpose. You might be suffering from abuse.
There are different types of abuse:
- Physical: When someone hurts you and causes you bodily harm.
- Emotional/mental: When someone does or says anything on purpose to make you feel bad or stressed.
- Sexual: When someone touches you on parts of your body that are private and/or forces you to engage in sexual activity.
- Neglect: When you are not looked after and do not receive the care that you need with things like food, clothing, hygiene, and safety.
Toni, one of our peer support workers share their experience: “Being the victim of abuse makes you feel like you're guilty of committing the crime, as if you had been asking for the abuse to happen. Your scared others will think of you differently, or not believe that you didn't mean to get involved. You feel angry towards everyone, the abuser, other people who don't understand, and yourself”.
Effects of abuse on mental health
There are many negative consequences of abuse. These can affect you in the short-term and cause problems in the long-term.
Some of the effects of abuse on children and young people can include:
- becoming fearful and unable to trust others
- struggling with low self-esteem
- problems in relationships
- increased risk of developing depression and other mood disorders
increased risk for developing an addiction
Recent research in the UK suggests that abused or neglected children are four times more likely develop serious mental illnesses later in life.
Abuse is not always done by strangers. Sometimes it can come from someone you know such as a friend, romantic partner, or family member. It is important to remember that abuse is always wrong, and you should try your best to speak to an adult or a professional who can help you.
With whom or where to get help?
If you are in immediate danger, please call 999 as soon as possible.
One of the first steps to getting help is to tell someone that you trust. You might do this by letting an adult know what is going on or what has happened. This might include your teacher, school counsellor, or your parent/carer.
Working with a counsellor or therapist can help you to recover from difficult feelings that you experience because of the abuse. Speaking with a professional can help you to feel better so that the effects of abuse does not have to keep you from living a normal life.
You can book a free initial consultation with a qualified mental health professional through our online service.
“Once you start to talk about it with someone which understands what it's like then it's like you can breathe again. It takes a while to realise that it wasn't your fault and that you deserve to be treated better. Life can become something which you want to be in, and you can start to feel true happiness”.
You can also contact a helpline such as Childline (for under 19s), The Mix (for under 25s), or Victim Support (for anyone affected by crime) for support by people who are willing to listen and help you.
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
If you are worried about the safety of a child, you can read and access more resources about child abuse on the NSPCC website. Click here to access the link.
If you are a young person, you can read and access resources about abuse on the Young Minds website. Click here to access the link.
You can access a guide to support for any type of abuse on the Mind website. Click here to access the link.