Violence toward mental health staff has been receiving national attention in the face of diminishing resources to treat what appears to be an increasingly violent patient population. Assaults by psychiatric patients against mental health care providers are both a reality and a concern, as the effects of violence can be devastating to the victim. Some staff rationalize that violence is an occupational hazard and believe that they are equipped to cope with it. Despite these beliefs, these victims suffer from many of the same physical and psychological sequelae as victims of a natural disaster or street crime. This review of literature will examine several studies dealing with the precipitants of violence in the mental health setting, the patient populations more likely to become violent and the mental healthcare staff at the greatest risk of becoming their victims. It will also discuss possible methods of preventing such acts of violence and techniques for both staff and patients to cope with violent behavior
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