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U S Department of Health and Human Services www.hhs.govOffice of Public Health and Science - The Federal Source for Women's Health Information Sponsored by the H H S Office on Women's Health
1-800-994-9662. TDD: 1-888-220-5446
Violence Against Women

Picture of woman holding head in handsViolence and Mental Health

Violence can shatter your life in many ways. Being a victim of violence is widely recognized as a cause for mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Being abused also plays a strong role in developing or worsening substance abuse problems. For many women affected, their first abuse occurred when they were children or adolescents. Women victimized as children frequently end up losing custody of their own children due to allegations of abuse or neglect, and over 50% of child abuse and neglect cases involve parental alcohol and drug abuse.

A recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that the best way to combat trauma, substance abuse, and mental health problems is through an integrated, holistic approach, taking into account how each individual problem affects the others. To begin, you should try to get help by sharing your experiences and concerns with a service provider who can assist in forming a plan to address all of these struggles.

Additional Information on Violence and Mental Health:

If you're a victim of abuse or violence at the hands of someone you know or love, or you are recovering from an assault by a stranger, you are not alone.

To get immediate help and support
call the National Domestic Violence Hotline
at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

or the National Sexual Assault Hotline
at 1-800-656-4673.
You can also visit the
National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.


  1. Federal resource  Women's Mental Health - This special section of our web site provides information on taking care of your mental health throughout the different stages of your life. It also links to information on mental health for men, girls, and people with a chronic illness or disability.

  2. Federal resource  Answers in the Aftermath - This brochure offers answers to commonly asked questions about post-traumatic stress disorder and how to deal with trauma in the aftermath of events. It provides useful tips for beginning the healing process and gives resources for additional help or information.

  3. Federal resource  Domestic Violence - This publication explains what domestic violence is, how prevalent it is, what the dynamics of an abusive relationship are, what the emotional and physical affects are, and how the effects of domestic violence are treated.

  4. Federal resource  Mental Health Services Locator - This internet site can help you locate mental health treatment facilities and support services in your state.

  5. Federal resource  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, A Real Illness - This publication discusses the causes of post-traumatic stress disorder and the importance of getting help for symptoms. It also provides a checklist of symptoms to understand how the disorder can affect an individual both physically and mentally.

  6. Federal resource  What to Do After a Rape or Sexual Assault - This fact sheet lists the steps to take if you, a friend, or a family member is raped or sexually assaulted. It also describes the physical and emotional effects of rape and how you can get help.


  1. Federal resource  National Mental Health Information Center, SAMHSA, HHS
  2. National Alliance on Mental Illness
  3. National Domestic Violence Hotline
  4. Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network

Federal resource = Indicates Federal Resources

Content last updated September 1, 2007.

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