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Supporting victims of abuse during the World Cup

10 Jun 2014

With World Cup fever setting in, clinicians at the West London Mental Health NHS Trust are warning that there is an ugly side to the beautiful game.  Statistics show during previous tournaments there is often a surge in reported incidents of domestic violence and experts are warning this could have a detrimental effect on victims’ mental health.

Rod Holland, head of psychology and psychological therapies, said: “We all want to enjoy the World Cup but clearly domestic violence is totally unacceptable.  Apart from the physical harm it causes, domestic violence in childhood and in adult life is often a key contributor to a range of disorders including anxiety, depression, self harm, suicide and disorders relating to sleep and eating habits.  It is really important that anyone who experiences such abuse seeks help quickly and not to suffer in silence.”

A recent study by Lancashire University examining previous World Cup campaigns found domestic abuse increases during England matches – especially when the national side lost a game.  Researchers also found that, compared to days when there were no matches, instances of abuse climbed by 38 per cent in Lancashire when England were defeated and by 26 per cent when the site won or drew.

One of the services provided by West London Mental Health Trust to support victims is Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) which we provide across Ealing, Hounslow, and Hammersmith and Fulham.  These are free and confidential services that provide different talking therapies including counselling, couples counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).

Dr Annabelle Norman, senior counselling psychologist from one of the trust’s IAPT services, said: “We work closely with other specialist domestic violence organisations, such as the Southall Black Sisters and Advance, to which we may signpost people in crisis situations. As a talking therapy service, we often work with people who want to address emotional difficulties related to domestic violence. People need to be assured that support is always available.”

To find out more about our IAPT services please visit the following websites (Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham accept self-referrals; in Hounslow please ask your GP to refer you):

Ealing: www.mhws.org.uk/mental-health-and-wellbeing

Hounslow wlmht.nhs.uk/service/iapt-in-hounslow/

Hammersmith & Fulham www.backontrack.nhs.uk

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