The effect of ‘The Riots’ on mental health

The effect of ‘The Riots’ on mental health

By Liz Lockhart

The whole country, if not the world, has been shocked by the recent riots.  We all have our own opinions on the situation but surely, whatever the cause or reason, no-one can condone the behavior of the people involved in the looting, burning of property and the terrorizing of those innocently caught up in this horrifying rampage.

The innocent families who lost their businesses, and those who lost their homes must have been overwhelmed with fear as the rioters stampeded like feral animals.  It was not just their houses and livelihoods that were destroyed by the rioters, they must have destroyed all feeling of safety within these victims own four walls. 

These feelings cannot be put into words but we should stop and think for a moment of those with mental health conditions who were caught up in this, and the implications of post trauma even on those who don't.

For people who are already suffering from feelings of anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and other mental health issues, this must have been overwhelming.  The feeling of terror engendered in those already traumatized by mental illness is almost unimaginable.  As a recovered agoraphobic I cannot imagine how it would have felt to be placed in this situation whilst suffering from this condition. 

Even for the most sound of mind and able bodied, this will have been a traumatic experience. Any act of crime, vandalism, terrorism, or endangerment of life can have dramatic repercussions and will inevitably put more strain on an already buckling mental health system.

I doubt the rioters have thought about the knock on effects of their actions. If the protests are about police brutality, lack of jobs, or poverty; then what on earth is going to be achieved by this behaviour? The cost to every emergency service, councils in each effected area, NHS and police services will be huge - taking away money from vital services and training that may have gone some way to making better the lives of these people in the first place.

The thoughts of the Mental Healthy team are with all of the victims of these events. We hope that counselling services will be readily available for the victims and those traumatised by these chilling riots.

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