The mental health impacts of workplace violence

January 25, 2023 | News

When a team member experiences workplace violence, the physical impacts may be easy to spot. But, workplace violence impacts healthcare professionals’ physical and mental health.

Workplace violence can contribute to anxiety and sleep disorders among healthcare workers. Workers who have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual assault – or any other violent actions – are at increased risk of developing mental health challenges, including:

  • Guilt or shame over the incident
  • Anxiety or fear of going to work
  • Concentration problems
  • Reduced self-confidence
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders

Every person is unique, and their response to workplace violence will differ. Compassionate support can help reduce the risk of longer-term mental health issues.

  • Impacted staff should have the opportunity to talk openly about the incident with constructive support
  • Be aware of signs of someone experiencing after-effects from a violent incident – including loss of appetite, irritability, anxiety, hyper-vigilance, and flashbacks
  • Encourage staff to access confidential counselling services. Many Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) have counselling services. Health and social support workers in British Columbia can access Care to Speak – a peer-based phone, text, and webchat service providing free and confidential support
    • Call or text Care to Speak at 1-866-802-7337 (Monday to Friday, 9:00 am – 9:00 pm)