What is it about?

Psychiatric nurses and other psychiatric staff shared their thoughts on workplace violence and what it is like to hear and see their patients’ suffering. We found that the negative effects of traumatic events and vicarious exposure were often made worse by the lack support offered to psychiatric workers by their organizations.

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Why is it important?

Most people with mental disorders are not violent, and some have experienced violence in their own lives. Staff wellbeing is negatively affected not only by direct exposure to violence but also by indirect exposure through their patients’ traumatic life histories. Workplace mental health support is important for all psychiatric staff, regardless of level of exposure


It is important for mental health organizations to keep in mind the mental health of all their employees, not only those who are directly affected by violence. Psychiatric workers can suffer negative effects from being bystanders to violence, supporting victims of violence, or even simply reading the traumatic accounts of their peers and patients

Elke Ham
Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Beyond Workplace Violence: Direct and Vicarious Trauma among Psychiatric Hospital Workers. A Qualitative Study, Journal of Nursing Management, July 2021, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/jonm.13420.
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