Mansoo Yu, an assistant professor of social work in the College of Human Environmental Sciences University of Missouri, studied the rates of PTSD, depression and substance abuse among 50 female intimate partner violence survivors and the types of services the women used.
The study, published in Social Work in Mental Health, found the majority of the women did not use any mental health services, but they reported regularly seeing their primary care physicians, Yu said.
"More than half of the women participating in our study suffered from depression, PTSD or both illnesses," Yu said in a statement. "However, most of the survivors had not used mental health services in the past year, even though they reported having access to the services. Social stigma, shame, privacy concerns, healthcare costs and lack of information may prevent survivors from getting the help they need."
The abused women in the study also reported having trouble accessing housing, legal services, crisis lines and medical care, the study said.
"Abuse causes harm, and service providers and health professionals should strive to end abuse and the mental suffering that lingers in its wake by connecting survivors with services," Yu said.