Impact News

Responding to Violence, Suicide, Psychosis and Trauma

Study reveals brain injury link with youth offending

By Neil Puffett, Friday 19 October 2012

Hundreds of children are being drawn into youth custody because of failures to identify or provide support for brain injuries and neurological conditions, a report by the Children’s Commissioner for England has found.

The study found that rates of traumatic brain injury run as high as 76 per cent in youth custody compared to up to 24 per cent in the general population.

It highlights that although the symptoms of brain injuries are often not spotted, they can make young people more likely to offend due to factors such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, communication difficulties and feelings of alienation.

The report also found that between 60 and 90 per cent of young offenders have speech and language difficulties, and one in 10 may have an autistic spectrum disorder.

The report makes a series of recommendations including a call for assessments in schools, so that young people with brain injuries can be identified as soon as behavioural issues are identified.

In addition, it recommends that all staff in education, family intervention projects, social services and primary health care settings should be provided with the training and support needed to understand issues relating to neurodisability, and refer children to relevant specialist services.

It also calls on the Youth Justice Board, Department of Health and local youth justice agencies to ensure that young people with neurodevelopmental disorders are diverted out of the youth justice system.

Children’s commissioner Maggie Atkinson said the report raises “serious questions” about whether significant numbers of children in the youth justice system have the ability to understand the whole process from arrest through to sentencing.

“Our failure to identify neurodevelopmental disorders and put in place measures to prevent young people with such conditions from offending is a tragedy,” she said.

“It affects the victims of their crimes, the children themselves, their families, the services seeking to change offenders’ lives for the better, and wider society.”

The report has been published on the same day as a separate study on brain injuries and offending by the Transition to Adulthood Alliance (T2A), which makes similar recommendations in relation to early intervention and identification.

Huw Williams, who authored the T2A report, said it is rare that brain injury is considered by criminal justice professionals when assessing the needs of an offender.

“The young brain, being a work in progress, is prone to ‘risk taking’ and so is more vulnerable to getting injured in the first place, and to suffer subtle to more severe problems in attention, concentration and managing one’s mood and behaviour,” he added.

“Brain injury has been shown to be a condition that may increase the risk of offending, and it is also a strong ‘marker’ for other key factors that indicate risk for offending.”

Filed under: Other Mental Health, Violence, , , , , ,

Bipolar disorder, creativity & writers

here is an interesting study from Sweden investigating the link between mental illness and creativity:


Filed under: Uncategorized, , , ,

Self-harm still not understood by GPs

Self-harm is a major concern for young people, friends, family, teachers and mental health professionals and yet still GPs – the first point of contact admit that they struggle to understand it.

Filed under: Other Mental Health, self-harm, Suicide, , , ,

Hearing Healthy Voices

At a time when DSM-V would have us classify just about anything vaguely different as a disorder it is good to be reminded that auditory hallucinations can be healthy. The study below offers further confirmation of Romme’s assertion that health/ill health lies not in the hallucinations themselves, but our relationship with them:

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2012 Oct 15;
Auditory hallucinations as a personal experience: analysis of non-psychiatric voice hearers’ narrations.
Faccio E, Romaioli D, Dagani J, Cipolletta S
ACCESSIBLE SUMMARY: Auditory hallucinations are voices heard speaking with the hearer or discussing his or her thoughts or behaviours. They are common also among non-psychiatric population and may be a positive experience. These hallucinations cannot be considered merely as symptoms because they may have an adaptive function. We should avoid trying to helping voice hearers to eliminate or deny voices, and rather we should help them to feel allowed to preserve their voices. ABSTRACT: This exploratory research investigates the phenomenon of non-psychiatric auditory hallucinations from the perspective of the voice hearer, evaluating the possibility that this experience can contribute the maintenance and adaptation of the hearer’s personal identity system. A semi-structured interview was administered to 10 Italian voice hearers, six men and four women, aged 18-65 years, who had never been in contact with any mental health services because of the voices, even though some of them had been hearing voices for decades. Participants were not distressed or worried about the voices; on the contrary they developed their own understanding, personal coping resources and beliefs in relation to the positive functions of the voices. These results indicate that voices cannot be considered merely as symptoms, but may be seen also as adaptation systems. Consequently, we should avoid trying to helping voice hearers to eliminate or deny voices, and rather we should help them to feel allowed to preserve them.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing.
Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy and Applied Psychology, University of Padua, Padova, Italy.

Filed under: Impact Training, Other Mental Health, psychosis, , , , ,

Facing Danger in the Helping Professions

We now have an estimated publication date of 8th April 2013.

Pre-orders can be placed with OUP at or Amazon at

Further information about the book can be found at

Filed under: Impact Training, Other Mental Health, psychosis, self-harm, Suicide, trauma, Violence, , , , , , ,

Jealousy, Violence and the Othello Syndrome

Here’s an interesting review of the Othello Syndrome in dementia…

Psychiatry Clin. Neurosci. 2012 Oct; vol. 66(6) pp. 467-73
Dangerous passion: Othello syndrome and dementia.
Cipriani G, Vedovello M, Nuti A, di Fiorino A
Jealousy is a complex emotion that most people have experienced at some time in life; pathological jealousy refers primarily to an irrational state. Othello syndrome is a psychotic disorder characterized by delusion of infidelity or jealousy; it often occurs in the context of medical, psychiatric or neurological disorders. At least 30% of cases in the literature show a neurological basis for their delusion of infidelity, although its biological basis is not fully understood. The purpose of this paper is to examine the phenomenon of pathological jealousy in people with dementia. We searched the electronic databases for original research and review articles on Othello syndrome in demented patients using the search terms ‘Othello syndrome, morbid jealousy, pathological jealousy, delusional disorders, dementia’. Convictions about the partner’s infidelities may form the content of psychopathological phenomena, such as delusions. Delusional jealousy is a frequent problem in dementia. Coexistent delusions and hallucinations are frequent. The violence in demented patients suffering from this syndrome is well documented and forensic aspects are highlighted. There are no systematic researches about the clinical characteristics of Othello syndrome in persons suffering from dementia, but only case reports and it is not possible to differentiate or compare differences of delusional jealousy across the various type of dementia or distinguish the syndrome in demented patients from the syndrome in other psychiatric disorders. Frontal lobe dysfunction may be called into question in delineating the cause of the delusional jealousy seen in Othello syndrome.
© 2012 The Authors. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences © 2012 Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Filed under: Other Mental Health, psychosis, Violence, , , ,

Women who kill their partners

Assumptions that women who kill their male partners are usually chronic sufferers of domestic abuse, mentally ill and/or intoxicated may not be true. See:

Behav Sci Law. 2012 Sep 27;

Women Who Kill Their Mates.

Bourget D, Gagné P

Spousal homicide perpetrators are much more likely to be men than women. Accordingly, little research has focused on delineating characteristics of women who have committed spousal homicide. A retrospective clinical review of coroners’ files containing all cases of spousal homicide occurring in Quebec over a 20-year period was carried out. A total of 276 spousal homicides occurred between 1991 and 2010, with 42 homicides by female spouses and 234 homicides by male spouses. Differences between homicides committed by female offenders and male offenders are discussed, and findings on spousal homicide committed by women are compared with those of previous studies. Findings regarding offenses perpetrated by females in the context of mental illness, domestic violence, and homicide-suicide are explored. The finding that only 28% of the female offenders in the Quebec sample had previously been subjected to violence by their victim is in contrast to the popular belief and reports that indicate that most female-perpetrated spousal homicide occurs in self-defense or in reaction to long-term abuse. In fact, women rarely gave a warning before killing their mates. Most did not suffer from a mental illness, although one-fifth were acutely intoxicated at the time of the killing. In the vast majority of cases of women who killed their mates, there were very few indicators that might have signaled the risk and helped predict the violent lethal behavior. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

PMID: 23015414

Filed under: Other Mental Health, Violence, , , , ,

Suicide in Mid-life Men

Disadvantaged men in mid-life have a tenfold increased risk of suicide. According to the Samaritans this is linked to loss of identity and male pride. Hopelessness is the killer, however, and loss of identity and lack of help-seeking behaviours IMHO contribute to this alongside isolation, poverty, substance misuse, poor mental health.

Filed under: Other Mental Health, Suicide, , ,