Victims of traumatic accidents find mental health ignored as two-thirds worry they’ll never recover

A lack of mental health support is having devastating consequences on those who have experienced accidents that weren’t their fault, according to new research.

A survey of 1,000 Brits who had been in an accident that wasn’t their fault, conducted by National Accident Helpline, has revealed that even though mental health recovery can take as long as physical recovery, there is a severe lack of support in place to deal with this type of trauma, with over 70% of people not receiving the care they need.

Lack of support 

Of those surveyed, almost three quarters (72%) suffered with mental health issues after an accident. A third said they had been stressed, one in five struggled to sleep, and a third suffered anxiety.

Despite more than half (61%) of those who needed mental health support claiming they needed counselling, only 44% received this supporti. Nearly two thirds of people who had experienced mental health issues said it took longer than expected to get back in shape psychologically (62%), having a huge affect on their working life. For 38%, their accident has had a negative effect on their personal relationships.

The top five mental health problems people experienced were:

  • Stress – 35%
  • Anxiety – 34%
  • Sleep deprivation – 21%
  • Depression – 18%
  • Panic attacks – 13%

National Accident Helpline has launched the Make it Right campaign, along with TV GP Dr Hilary Jones, to raise awareness of the lack of mental health support available to those who have had an accident.

Commenting on the research, Dr Hilary Jones said:

“An unexpected accident can be distressing. As well as the physical impact it may have on the body, the incident itself and dealing with the aftermath can also have devastating consequences on the mind, with feelings of fear, confusion and even isolation that can continue for years in some cases.   

“This survey shows that there isn’t enough support available to help people who are struggling as a result of an accident and this simply isn’t good enough. Mental health is just as important as physical health and we need to be doing more to ensure people can access the support they need, as quickly as possible after the event, to minimise the impact on people’s work, relationships and general day-to-day life.”