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Mental Health Risk of Reporting Workplace Abuse 🚩🚩🚩

Updated: 4 days ago

Did your organisation conduct a Risk Assessment- Did the investigation exacerbate a mental health injury?

Out of 119 respondents 63 (53%) reported "NO", while 44 stated "they did not know" 🚩

and 11 (.09%)stated their organisation did assess the mental health risk of reporting abuse.

Employees are led to believe that management are credible, trustworthy and ethical. When a target(s) reports workplace bullying it is expected that leadership qualities of humanity, honesty, morality, dignity, respect, capability, collaboration, transparency and reliability is a natural response. An employee should feel safe and supported when reporting workplace abuse.✅

Betrayal Trauma

However, where an organisation lacks leadership, integrity, ethics and moral intelligence it is a place "beyond belief" that the organisation can treat the target(s) with indifference, breach of trust, rejection and the invalidation of an "In-House report of workplace abuse. The organisation simultaneously invalidates and re-traumatises the target(s) who trusts and is seeking support in their coerced circumstances.

Injustice Trauma

This is "In-House" Violence - A breach of trust is psychological, emotional and moral abuse.🚩🚩🚩

Leaders with emotional intelligence treat employees fairly and with respect and where abuse raises its ugly head in the toxic workplace, a leader can respond with with a zero tolerance of abuse in the workplace. ✅

However, a manager lacking emotional and moral intelligence will exacerbate a mental health injury that occurs in the workplace.

53% of respondents provided data that, to the best of their knowledge, their organisation did not assess the risk that the workplace bullying investigation may exacerbate a mental health injury, while 9% stated that their organisation did assess the risk. Initial works came from specialists in the mental health and human resources fields, examining the impact of these behaviours on individuals and organizations (Bassman, 1992; Hornstein, 1996; Stennett-Brewer, 1997; Wyatt & Hare, 1997). Einarsen (1999) coined the term predatory behaviour, and his concept is that the perpetrator intentionally seeks out an easy target to exert power (superiority) by using discouraging and abusive tactics.

Einarsen's theory is that this treatment may stigmatise and cause severe psychological trauma.

Workplace Mobbing

By far, the most devastating form of psychological terrorism in the workplace is mobbing. Constantinescu (2014) states that workplace mobbing is the intense systematic psychological harassment of an individual in the workplace, carried out by one or more colleagues or superiors, using weapons that include gossip, intimidation, humiliation, discrediting, and isolation. Psychological abuse is a persistent pattern of oppressive, pervasive and complex traits of psychological abuse which manifests through subtle overt and covert mechanisms. To date, there has been little agreement on the evidence that organisations protect employees from psychological abuse; there is an absence of proper management interventions (Leymann, 1993). Domestic psychological abuse – coercive control is evidence-based and is now a criminal offence. Coercive control is a complex challenge in organisational settings, lacking an established definition, laws, leadership, trauma-informed investigations and mitigation responses to the risks and dangers of psychological abuse. 

©No part of this article may be reproduced without prior permission of the author Judith Carmody. The post can be reposted in full giving credit to the author's work.

This survey is part of a research dissertation for a Master of Arts in Leadership in Workplace Health and Wellbeing, Technical University of the Shannon, Ireland.

Content Warning: Please be advised, this article might mention trauma-related topics that include abuse, which could be triggering to the reader. The con­tent pro­vided and in any linked mate­ri­als is not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical or legal advice. If the reader of this material has a med­ical or legal con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately health care provider or legal advisor.

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