National Safeguarding Adults Week – DAY 1 – Emotional Abuse & Safeguarding Mental Health

Emotional or psychological abuse may not include any physical or sexual assault. But its impact can be just as devastating.

Examples of emotional and psychological abuse include:

  • Threats of harm or abandonment
  • Deprivation of contact or refusal of visitors.
  • Humiliation.
  • Restricting personal choice and refusing to respect privacy.
  • Blaming, controlling, or intimidating behaviour.
  • Coercion and harassment.
  • Verbal abuse, or the use of infantilising language.
  • Removing mobility or communication aids, or intentionally leaving someone unattended when they need assistance.
  • Forced isolation, or withdrawal from services or support networks.
  • Cyber bullying is another example of emotional abuse.

Learn to Spot the Signs of Emotional Abuse:

Any of these could indicate that emotional and psychological abuse is taking place:

  • An air of silence or discomfort when a particular person is present.
  • Withdrawal, or a change in the psychological state of the person.
  • A change of appetite, or unexplained weight loss or gain.

In addition to these, certain signs may be a bit harder to spot. Some signs of distress, like tears and anger, are obvious. But victims of psychological abuse may develop low self-esteem and insomnia.

It’s also a good idea for looking for signs that a person might be an abuser. Uncooperative or aggressive behaviour from a carer is a big red flag. But again, some signs are a bit more subtle. For instance, a carer might make some false claims about an individual’s behaviour or condition. in order to attract unnecessary treatment.

Unfortunately, emotional and psychological abuse sometimes takes place in care settings: the Ann Craft Trust guide to organisational abuse

This short video about adult safeguarding will give you additional information about what to look for, and who to contact.

Safeguarding Mental Health:

‘One in four adults and one in 10 children experience mental illness, and many more of us know and care for people who do.’ (NHS England, 2020)

It has never been more important for all of us to look after our mental health – as professionals working with people with mental health needs and as individuals to check in on our own mental health. On Monday 15th November the 4LSAB is focussing on Mental Health as part of National Safeguarding Week and has pulled together the following resources to promote awareness of good practice as individuals and when working with people with mental health issues.

3 Ways to Safeguard Your Mental Health:

  • Check in with yourself. Once a day, ask yourself: “Do I feel OK?” If not, think about why not, and consider what changes you could make.
  • Make time for yourself. Aim to minimise the amount of time you spend staring at screens. Aim to maximalise the amount of time you spend doing what you love.
  • Be kind to yourself. Try to stay active, and to sleep well, eat well, and live well.

Local Resources:

National Resources: