ViolHelp: results of a pilot study to identify potential warning signs and risk factors for self- and heterodirected violence in the calls received by the Helplines of the Italian National Institute of Health

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Abstract

Background. Self- and hetero-directed violence (SHDV) is a serious public health problem and a complex phenomenon, influenced by individual and environmental factors. SHDV may occur particularly in moments of personal, economic and/or social crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ISS-Helplines operators have perceived an increase in psychological distress and self-isolation among callers. The ViolHelp project aimed at identifying potential warning signs and risk factors of SHDV emerging in the activity of the ISS-Helplines (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, ISS, Italian National Institute of Health).
Materials and methods. A dashboard collecting warning signs and risk factors of SHDV was developed to be used during the ISS-Helplines activity.
Results. In one year of data collection, 135 calls were compiled. In 106 calls, callers referred experienced violence: 72 self-directed violence (SDV), 20 hetero-directed violence (HDV), 14 both. The most frequent warning signs and risk factors for SDV were desire to die (68.6%), previous suicide attempts (31.4%) and threat of self-harm (25.6%); for HDV were depressed mood (32.4%), diagnosis of pathology and/or psychiatric disorders, desire to die, use of psychotropic drugs, and alcohol abuse (29.4%).
Conclusions. The results of this pilot project show the importance of being able to read the warning signs and to create a network that can improve information, prevention and support activities for people at risk of violence and their families.

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Authors

Rosilde Di Pirchio - ISS

Silvia Ghirini

Marta De Santis

Antonella Sanseverino

Claudia Mortali

Vichi Monica

Eloise Longo

Massimiliano Orri

Alberto Forte

Antonella Faieta

Luisa Mastrobattista

How to Cite
Di Pirchio, R., Ghirini, S., De Santis, M., Sanseverino, A., Mortali, C., Monica, V., … Mastrobattista, L. (2024). ViolHelp: results of a pilot study to identify potential warning signs and risk factors for self- and heterodirected violence in the calls received by the Helplines of the Italian National Institute of Health. Annali dell’Istituto Superiore Di Sanità, 60(2), 154–165. https://doi.org/10.4415/ANN_24_02_10
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