Emotional Abuse and Safeguarding Mental Health

National Safeguarding Week 2021

Monday 15th November 2021

The adult safeguarding duties under the Care Act 2014 apply to all people with care and support needs including adults who have mental health issues as they may be at risk of abuse and neglect.  It is a priority for Safeguarding Adults Boards to ensure that adults who are at risk of abuse and neglect are protected and that practitioners are skilled and trained appropriately to recognise changes in symptoms and behaviours that may indicate a deterioration in their mental health and that those people are safeguarded.

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse can have a devastating impact on mental as well as physical health.  To have safer cultures, we need to prioritise wellbeing and create a culture in which people can speak out, be listened to and respected.  Today, at an individual level, we are focusing on the importance of wellbeing and self-care.  At an organisational level, today can be used to explore how organisations can be emotionally aware and promote respectful cultures in which people can speak out without fear of reprimand.

What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being.  It affects how we think, feel and act.  It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make healthy choices.  Mental illness, especially depression, increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Similarly, the presence of chronic conditions can increase the risk for mental illness.

General Information 

Where to get help in a crisis

If you need help for a mental health crisis, emergency or breakdown, you should get immediate expert advice and assessment.  It’s important to know that support is available even if services seem busy at the moment because of Covid-19.  Find more information about where to get help in a mental health crisis on the NHS website.

Ann Craft Trust

What is Emotional Abuse?  Read more at the Ann Craft Trust’s website.

The Ann Craft Trust has a Safeguarding in  Sport Toolkit for Supporting Participants with their Mental Health – you can download it here.

Untold Stories – Domestic Abuse, Coercive Control and Emotional Abuse.  Learn more here.

How to Safeguard your wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.  See more here.

The ACT has provided a Factsheet about caring for your mental health.  It’s called “3 Ways to Safeguarding Your Mental Health” and you can read and download it here.

Age UK – Your Mind Matters

Being worried, low or out of sorts aren’t just part and parcel of getting older – they’re important signs that you’re not feeling as well as you should be.  Our mental health affects how we think and feel and how we cope with life’s ups and downs.  As we move through different stages of life and our circumstances change, our mental health can change too.  We’ve all faced a lot of challenges this year.  You might have found your own ways of coping but it’s also natural to feel overwhelmed by it all.  If things are starting to get on top of you, you don’t need to try to cope alone.  There is support out there which can help.  Find out more about the support available from Age UK – Your Mind Matters Guide.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Support Guidance for Adults

Here you will find helpful tips and links to a range of resources, including information on where to find specific support and urgent care if needed.  It’s published by Southampton City Council and you can find it on their website here.

Solent Mind

Solent Mind is part of a network of over 100 Local Minds who tailor trusted mental health services to our communities.  They collaborate with Mind to make sure their pioneering campaigns, information and research makes a difference in Hampshire.  For more information about services available in Southampton, visit the Solent Mind website.


Shout can help with a range of issues including anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, relationship problems, bullying or if you’re feeling overwhelmed.   Shout 85258 is a free, confidential 24/7 mental health text support service in the UK – just text “Shout” to 85258.  Shout 85258 has become increasingly critical since Covid-19, being one of the few mental health support services able to operate as normal at this time.

The Samaritans

The Samaritans provide a free listening service, with no judgement or pressure and they will help you work through what’s on your mind.  If you need advice or specialist support for a specific issue, they have  a list of specialist organisations, including their contact details, which you might find helpful.  Go to  The Samaritans, who say “whatever you’re going through, call us free any time, from any phone, on 116 123”.

NHS Easy Read Guide to the Mental Health Act

The Mental Health Act is a law that tells people with a mental health disorder what their rights are and how they can be treated.  The term “mental health disorder” is used to describe people who have:

  • a mental illness
  • a learning disability or
  • a personality disorder.

Being detained (also known as “sectioned”) under the Mental Health Act is when you’re made to stay in hospital for assessment or treatment.  It’s important that you know what happens to you when you’re detained, what your rights are and where you can seek help.  The Mental Health Act Code of Practice tells everyone how to use this law and what they must do.  You can find an easy-to-read guide on the NHS website.

Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities – Information Booklet Feeling Down – Looking After My Mental Health

The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities is part of the Mental Health Foundation which is a charity aiming to make life better for people with learning disabilities.  They have published an easy read, interactive guide called “Feeling Down – Looking After My Mental Health”  to help people with learning disabilities to take care of their health with the support of their family, friends and support workers.  It includes tools to help people speak to their GP about their mental health, a dairy to record their mood, how to get help and more.  You can download the guide from The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities website.


Scope is the disability equality charity in England and Wales.   They provide practical information and emotional support when it’s most needed.  Advice and support to people with disabilities and their families is provided on the Scope website or you can ring them on 0808 800 3333. They also have advice on what to do if your mental health has been affected by Covid-19 on their Advice and Support page.

Every Mind Matters

Every Mind Matters can help you to manage and maintain your mental health as good mental health makes such a difference.  We all go through ups and downs in life and experience life changes which can affect our mental health.  Every Mind Matters gives you simple and practical advice to get a healthier mind and get more out of life – from how to deal with stress and anxiety, to boosting our mood or sleeping better.  It will help you to spot the signs of common mental health conditions, get personalised practical self-care tips and find information on further support.  You’ll also learn about what you can do to help others.  Visit the Every Mind Matterswebsite for advice and information on how to maintain good mental health.

Information for Professionals 

Quick Guide to working with parents with mental health needs

Mental health problems are common.  There is no single clear definition therefore mental health problems alone should not be taken as a risk factor without contextual information.  The state of a person’s mental health is changeable and can be affected by various factors.  Consequently, their capacity to parent safely may also be variable therefore an understanding of the factors which might increase risk is an important part of any assessment.   Find more information in the document 4LSAB Quick guide to working with parents with mental health needs.

Quick Guide to the Mental Capacity Act

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 exists to support people who can make decisions for themselves to do so and to provide a legal framework for families or professionals to make decisions for people who are assessed as lacking mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves.  The primary purpose of the MCA is to promote and safeguard decision-making within a legal framework.  Find more information in the document 4LSAB Quick guide to the Mental Capacity Act (2005).

Nice Podcast – How can we help people who are lonely?

Loneliness can have a substantial effect on a person’s health and wellbeing.  In this podcast, Amy Thomas from the media team at NICE chats to Neil McCarthy from the not-for-profit organisation Octavia and Gill Roberts about schemes which help people who are lonely.  Click on the link to listen to the  NICE Podcast – How can we help people who are lonely? 

COVID-19 and Mental Health and Wellbeing

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having an impact on everyone’s daily lives.  You might be bored, frustrated or lonely.  You might also be feeling feel low, worried, anxious or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you.  These are all common reactions to this difficult situation especially as lockdown restrictions have eased.  Everybody reacts differently to events – and changes in the way that we think, feel and behave vary between different people and over time.  It’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body.

NHS – Every Mind Matters

There are little things we can all do to help look after our mental health as we live through the Covid-19 pandemic.  Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more.  The NHS’s “Every Mind Matters” website has expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing so click on the link below to discover what works for you.

   NHS – Every Mind Matters

Mind – Mental health and COVID-19

Many of us are struggling with how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting ourselves and our loved ones.  Those of us already living with mental health problems are also facing extra challenges.  When you’re living with a mental health problem or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information is vital.  You can find reliable information and tips to help you cope by visiting the  Mind Mental Health Information Hub