Violence and Mental Illness

Although Mental health problems are common in Britain and the majority of mental health patients are never violent, Mental Health Services remain the most violent sector of the NHS.

70% of all physical assaults in the NHS take place in mental health and learning disability services.

One in five mental health staff report being assaulted, the highest rate for any sector within the NHS, including A&E.

Violence on staff

Last year there were

  • 61,000 reported physical assaults on staff throughout the NHS
  • 43,000 of these assaults occurred in Mental Health and Learning Disability services.
  • 36,000 of those were directly attributed to the person’s mental health

Every year in the UK around 1700 mental health patients turn the violence in on themselves and take their own lives.

Many scientific studies have documented a clear association between severe mental illness and violent behaviour.

The most extreme form of violence is homicide – murder, manslaughter, or infanticide.

In Britain official figures show that on average there are more than 120 victims of killings by people with mental illness every year.

Around ten of these victims each year are children.

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