Outreach, engagement, and practical assistance: Essential aspects of PTSD care for urban victims of violent crime

Author(s)Kelly, Vanessa, Merrill, Gregory, Shumway, Martha, Alvidrez, Jennifer, and Alicia Boccellari
Title Outreach, engagement, and practical assistance: Essential aspects of PTSD care for urban victims of violent crime
Source Trauma, Violence, & Abuse; Vol 11, No. 3, pp144-156, 2010
Date 2010
Document type Journal article
Coverage USA
Summary This article considers the risk factors for developing PTSD among urban victims of violent crime and the needs of these victims, including acute and long-term medical needs and psychosocial needs. Barriers to accessing mental health services are examined, such as having limited or no information about the availability of services or their potential benefit. The research literature has demonstrated that early intervention is needed to address crime victims' mental health, substance use, medical and psychosocial problems in an integrated way. The authors discuss strategies for outreach, engagement and practical assistance that have been developed through their work with injured crime victims in an urban, public-sector hospital setting and which have been found to be successful in linking victims to needed services. An example of a practical strategy developed to promote engagement is to provide victims with bus tokens or cab vouchers to encourage them to attend treatment, particularly if they have ambulatory problems. Cases illustrating successful, unsuccessful and delayed engagement are discussed. The authors suggest that the focus of treatments must move beyond addressing narrowly defined PTSD to address a wider range of psychological symptoms and related physical and social consequences.
Keywords PTSD; mental health; barriers accessing services; urban crime; engagement; service delivery; psychosocial; integrated services
Topic Psychological effects and treatment