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How to Report Abuse of an Adult with Mental Illness

July 27, 2015 Becky Oberg

Do you know how to report abuse of an adult with mental illness? Sadly, I'm currently in this situation. I am living in a short-term group home for disabled adults, and, recently, I heard a staff member yell, "I'm going to punch the next person who says [expletive]." Under Indiana law, I'm obligated to report that. This made me research how to report abuse of an adult with mental illness.

What Is Abuse of an Adult with Mental Illness?

Each state has an Adult Protective Services. Typically they work out of the county prosecutor's office. Like Child Protective Services (CPS), Adult Protective Services investigates complaints when they have reason to believe an individual has been harmed or is in danger of coming to harm from abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Like CPS, your report is confidential and not subject to the Open Records Act. The law protects you from civil or criminal retaliation as long as your report is made in good faith.

Do you know what to do if you witness an act of abuse against someone with a mental illness? Learn how to report abuse of an adult with mental illness.If you are in doubt that what you have witnessed is abuse, these are the people to call. They can tell you whether or not you have witnessed abuse. They also work with law enforcement to hold abusers accountable. Sadly, the definition of abuse varies by state--in Indiana, it has to be physical abuse, financial, or sexual, while in Texas it can be physical, emotional abuse, mental, financial, or sexual. Check with the Adult Protective Services office in your county.

According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, there are different types of abuse, but as a general rule:

Physical abuse: may include slapping, hitting, beating, bruising or causing someone physical pain, injury or suffering. This also could include confining an adult against his/her will, such as locking someone in a room or tying him/her to furniture.

Emotional abuse: involves creating emotional pain, distress or anguish through the use of threats, intimidation or humiliation. This includes insults, yelling or threats of harm and/or isolation, or non-verbal actions such as throwing objects or glaring to project fear and/or intimidation.

Neglect: includes failures by individuals to support the physical, emotional and social needs of adults dependent on others for their primary care. Neglect can take the form of withholding food, medications or access to health care professionals.

Isolation: involves restricting visits from family and friends or preventing contact via telephone or mail correspondence.
Financial or material exploitation: includes the misuse, mishandling or exploitation of property, possessions or assets of adults. Also includes using another’s assets without consent, under false pretense, or through coercion and/or manipulation.

Abandonment: involves desertion by anyone who assumed caregiving responsibilities for an adult.

Sexual abuse: includes physical force, threats or coercion to facilitate non-consensual touching, fondling, intercourse or other sexual activities. This is particularly true with vulnerable adults who are unable to give consent or comprehend the nature of these actions.

How To Report Abuse of an Adult with Mental Illness

This varies by zip code. Texas has an option to make the report online, while Indiana requires a phone call. The first step is to gather information, such as the names of people involved, current status of the individuals involved (especially if there is injury), the address the abuse occurred at, and names and contact information of witnesses.

The second step is to find out who to make the report to. You have several options: Adult Protective Services, your state's Protection and Advocacy Services, local law enforcement, the Health Department (if it happened in a facility) or, if your state has one, the Department of Mental Health and Addictions.

Remember, better to make a report and be wrong than to stay quiet and have something happen. You may be the only advocate the victim has. There is very little more noble than speaking up for someone who can not speak for themselves. Making a report requires great courage, and you should be proud of yourself for doing so.

Protecting Against Retaliation When Reporting Mental Illness Abuse

Sadly, this is likely. An abuser wants nothing more to keep the abuse secret. While your identity is protected, sometimes the abuser can figure out who made the complaint (as is my situation). The best way to prevent against retaliation is to be sure you or your loved one are in a safe place before filing the complaint.

If retaliation occurs, the abuser will dig him/herself deeper into the metaphorical hole. Document what you can and report it. Let the abuser know you are not afraid. More often than not, they'll back down. Retaliation against an individual for filing a complaint is illegal--make sure the abuser knows it.

Abuse of any person is despicable, unacceptable, and wrong. Don't let the abuser get away with it. Know how to report abuse of an adult with mental illness.

You can also find Becky Oberg on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2015, July 27). How to Report Abuse of an Adult with Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2015/07/how-to-report-abuse-of-an-adult-with-mental-illness



Author: Becky Oberg

Anonymous
says:
October, 16 2018 at 9:41 am
I have mental health problems and its being used against me. To make people believe that I am more paranoid when what is happening is actually real and no one believes I am in danger
Kelli
says:
May, 22 2019 at 3:27 pm
Hi.i also have mental illness.people have made me out to be the bad guy.have falsely reported me just because i have depression and anxiety.and they use me getting upset or reacting to them causing me to be upset.everyone has called me crazy because i wont sit still and be quiet while everyone walks all over me.
Miss cheryl mary hitch
says:
August, 28 2018 at 12:28 pm
to whom this may concern: I have been professionally diagnosed with ptsd, manic-depression, ocd. and par shc and i am a member of opc and some of the staff are on facebook and doing their personal stuff. with kindest regards, miss cheryl mary hitch and family 1 5208845553 or 1 5209777204 or cheryl.mary hitch@gmail.com or facebook me at cheryl mary hitch cmh/cmh
Jennifer
says:
June, 30 2018 at 6:16 am
What do you do if your an dult with bipolar manic depressant type one with psycosis. I have even more anxiety problems and stuff. My daughters 16. Shes gay and got a 17 yr old girlfriend and 18nyr old friend The night it all happened my daughter was in deep trouble cause she lied to me. They going ice skating an hour away. Left early in the morning to go. She then says they gotta be at work at 5 till en. When it got around ten she says dont pick me up ill call kenz...er girlfriend... I as nope already infront of your work ill get you... Then she panics calls me and says we left 5 minutes ago. So called her boss who said she never worked all day. Texted my daughter and said you just eally fucked up lying to me. All you needed is to be honest i would have said... I said instead youll ve dealing with otherbullshit. I alk through the door. Autamatiy my daughters going can i stay the night with my girlfriend its our whole 5 month. Anaversary. I told sure she n..oh wait never mind. You rather be home obviously so you lie about where you are and oing. Her girlfriend waved and smiled at as she walked out. My daughter walks in bathroom lock it behind her. I ad pout good five minutes. First things out her. Mouth is please can i sleep at kenz. Shes rying like crazy ut only over anting to go with kenz. I started raising my and yelling like wtf is going through your mind... You need to be about lying to me. It turned into a yelling match.. My son calls the cops...tells them thaat he thinks i havent been taking my medicing..... So fly out the door and looked the cop and was like i didnt realize you guys come out for a om dealing with one selfish xhild and mother yelling. Hes like mam you need to m down. I as like wtf do you. Want to count all my medications here they are... And yes after my son called the cops on e... Ill think ll calm down when youve checkedmy meds and leave my house... I ade both my kids go outside and talk with im.... Even though he kept repeating he didnt wanna talk to them. I was like dude i mental disabilties. Why are you refusing to ask them if their ok. I my daughter id be in the house..call y mom she can judge me cause she know me. She ot there he left... What do you next thing i know ivecalmed and for somereason her 17 year old girlfriend is suddent busting through my front door and their 18 year old friend both running through my house gather the insane amounts of cats and dogs. I aslike omg theres god and he loves. Then girlfriend slams the door and notice my top and middle hinge has no scres. Asked my son if he did it then walked outside and said kenz you did something that jd like you t put the screws back in. She goes to the and turning the knob and open and shutting the fast and continuously while i asked then to stop repeadtedly. I tried try to get them to calm wdown. And i
Finally just put my hand on top of hers and was just please stop. She yanks her hand from under mine then gets in my face saying you made me uncomfortable just continuosly about how i always said if i made her uncomfortable and i finally hollered out yeah but didnt say anything about screaming it disrespectfully. Then you should remembersthis. Remember its dark to. e jumps back and starts nursing her hand say omg you hurt me. Iwas like o..i made sure not to even scratch you 2th a nail i was gentle... Next thing you know the 18 says please co.e see ms jennifer... So i walk to thecar oor and propped my elbow on the top of the car door. Suddenly this girl ve met like wice starts screaming get your hands off my f*cking door. So i tepped back said goodnight mm notletting two teenagers make my night any worse. So got to the oor and suddenly kenz pops from passenger side and say you now b *tch i did all this. I got your son to all the cops on you . and l this bad shit aint over cause theres plan still t work for you... She kept braging bout turning my son against me and have im lie to the cops. I nally lost my shit telling to get e hell out of my appartments parking area.. Dont ever come back. These little smartassed girls just keep on aunting me over shit. Saying stuff that abrinas girlfriend already knew would set me off. So m like ok im going the fuck inside and if by the time i look out my shades if your ot gone or in heprocess getting the hell out of here ill just call cops and they will xplain how a person with no lease screaming out profanities and laughing and taunting over what things they premeditated to might just let u stay parked and take o the station for a well disturbed detail tour. i went inside took my meds and went to sleep. Woke up to a pounding on my.. Gwt and open the d oor to be met by police. Two officers this time. Who walk nto my ouse d have my oor fall on their heads. I as like ok what did my and family derve guest so bright and when weve all een sleep... They say they ecieved more calls from people claiming you dont take your meds d your a anger and and tempor from being off your meds is making you unsafe and mentioned you talkin about suicide. And how terrified they were for my children. Cause i ust be terrifying them.... So tossed my meds at em. And i was like count. I am not a kid and i know stopping my meds would shove meinto a manic state which im 100 %sure i dont like manic episodes and dont care how someone could offer me car whatever that im not gonna risk all of mine and my psychatrist have achieved by droppin one med two weeks later cut back this one. So i said sorry for coming out here ut now i need to know how to get these rich brats to top calling to get cops on my ass and purposely trying to get me in a manic state... Somebody please help me. The girls that pulled the crap re only 17 and 18. 18 year olds going to be leaving for lsu in wo weeks. And the otherones always talking suicide to. My 16 year old daughter. I want to stop her girlfriend cause im cared might just make some kind of ridulous suicide crap happen. I tried meeting with that girls mom and dad. Who wouldnt hear anything i said on her.. Infact let me know they know i hurt their and put hands on her. Making serious accusations against me and say talking with kenz and brinathey they know there were videos taken. I aid if there is goo watch them... But just think of the clips and how the 18 year old prob only seems to catch film small parts after when started going off on them. Anyways some please help i dont want to make the two girls have a restraing order bullying and acting abusive n stuff. But i also dont want. This harrassment and being told ohkenz isnt allowed to be around you because you put hands on her and all the other stuff. Including bringing up my abilities to be parenting three chidren then started talking about my son packing is booksack and took out door. Because he as using my phone and recieving gun emails and stuff like that. So i hacked a couple his emails and instagrams.. I changed the passwords and didnt even check im out. I just told him that he thinks im supid because my problems but they only ake me watch and try figure out what your doind that weboth know he shouldnt. He yelled his head off about 15 yr old boy right to privacy
...my mom daughter and neigh bor took off looking. And for some unforeseen turn of even was called to help find my son... Hacking what my kids doing on the internet shouldnt be necessary. And for that woman to throw it in my face that. She had to get off the couch and go try to find someones kids shes never bet. I as just im srry that helping a kid whos nothing but acting angry at me all the time. Anything out his mouth was correct and he ep bring up suicide cause his girlfriend broke up with him. She suggested if i ere better parent then she wouldnt have to look for im. I was like your a person who works with kids side of mental hospital...you telling me that because i watch over them and watch them quietly make their mistakes in when one is depressed or being bullied getting his emaiks with assault riffles for sale.. I see him doing it and when he needs a firm hand to change everything hes doing esp looking p riffles and stuff. Id say its ot that horrble of being a parent. After growing up ipolar and not being helped with meds i ust take different aproach.. Ill let them make their own istakes they will answer for.. at s after 18 years of me making parenting mistakes id say id do it all over...anyways im sorry my phone is bein a pain and and creating all kinds of typos. Any ways if anybody as any ideas please share them with. Jenngriffs82@gmail.com

Laurie
says:
June, 25 2018 at 11:27 pm
I need advice, I am not disabled but my landlord's oldest son is. Dan Henry as they call him was born with hydrocephalus, now at the nearing age of 60 they diagnosed him with Alzheimer's and schizophrenia (I don't believe he has schizophrenia ). But I am not a doctor so it's just from seeing how he is when hes been around me. Anyway his dad is 91 and they' live together. Russell has told me that dan Henry makes him so .ad he hits him.
His brother has also said that he has done it by smacking him in the head. The brother Jacob is no better cussing at dan Henry all the time but what is worse is that Dan Henry is bowel incontinence. Jacob doesnt tolerate this and has sat dan Henry on the toilet with a poopy diaper on his head, made him eat sitting on the toilet, and forced dan Henry to take off his clothes and sprays him with the garden hose because he pooped.
Where I come from things like this are against the law and humanity.
I went to visit both men and went into the house, the smell was unreal the house was cluttered with poopy diapers, pee stains from Russell no clean area to sit that hasn't been pooped on. I had to leave, the smell made me gag. I've seen things like this on TV, I'm not.sure how to report.in the state of ohio. Please help me help them, the son Jacob is supposed to be taking care of them instead they are being abused.
Joanne Ribaudo
says:
May, 31 2018 at 10:41 am
My name is Joanne Ribaudo I am very concerned about my Mother's son who has been diagnosed with mental illness since his twenty now age 60. My Mother Victoria Ribaudo, now age 83, has been Phillip Jordan's guardian since the late 1970's. I feel now that my mother is 83 years old that she is no longer capable of caring for a grown man with mental illness ( she barely can take care of herself). Phillip does take his meds but sometime Victoria Ribaudo mixes up his meds because she has early stage dementia. He is in no programs for his condition. He is isolated from family and friends because she is too old to take him out. Nither one of them leave the house unless absolutely necessary for item such as food, toilet paper, and ect. Phillip has not been to the dentist since the 1970's. Phillip Jordan also has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and she feeds him nothing but processed junk food, and he is in constant pain. Victoria Ribaudo can not read or write so if a situation came up that need her consent I do not know how she would be able to make a educated decision when she can't read or write. Victoria Ribaudo treat him like an infant she never taught him how to care for myself she had been combing his hair, making his bed, and preparing what she calls meals all his life. Victoria uses his SSI check to pay for her rent. I never seem nor have I ever hear about her giving him money or using the money for Phillip's denefit. I am Joanne Ribaudo , Victoria's daughter, I am very concerned with this situation. I have been looking for some kind of assistant for them so there will be someone in the home while I am at work but haven't found the right fit yet. I was hoping your agency came give me some assistance and/or guidance. Thank you for your time. Sincerely Joanne Ribaudo 347 792 7238
Morgan
says:
April, 23 2018 at 10:40 pm
My little brother has severe autism! He is currently in a mental health facility. He is being neglected. They refuse to change his meds, the ones he’s on now are making him act out worse. They don’t feed him. God only knows what else is going on! I don’t know where to go from here but my brother needs help! He’s non verbal and my parents get the run around every time they call or visit. My stomach hurts and my heart breaks for him!! He doesn’t deserve this and I’m sure he isn’t the only one being treated this way!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Megan Rahm
says:
April, 26 2018 at 6:54 am
Hi Morgan. Thanks for your comment. I used to work at a group home, and occasionally an ombudsman would stop by unannouced to talk with the residents and make sure they are being treated well. Maybe there is an ombudsman in your area, too, that you could contact. Also, I would contact your county and state mental health boards. I'm so sorry for the situation you are in. I hope this helps.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kelli
says:
May, 22 2019 at 3:36 pm
The mental hospitals arent the safest to take someone with mental illness.a lot of them dont care at all feom what ive read anyway.im so sorry what your family is going through.i have depression.anxiety.ptsd.ocd.and insomnia.people i know make it worse on me to get me out of there lives and away from them.i do hope your situation gets better.
Mohsen dollatabbady
says:
April, 23 2018 at 2:28 pm
I am a victim of right harries emit I need help
Toni Irene Cupido
says:
April, 19 2018 at 11:09 am
I’m a victim of civil right harassment I need help
Troy Scott
says:
March, 31 2018 at 2:11 pm
My name is Troy Scott and I have bipolar and pstd I live with my mother brother and my sister and girlfriend my brother is a drug addict who want leave me alone he come bagging on my bed room door with drugs and laughs and humiliates me because I've been sober 4 6 years my mother also ask me for my soboxn the make fake police claims against me and had me arrested on a lie currently my brother a restraining order against me because you got into a verbal agreement witch I left the house for a few hours too diffuse the situation when I came back restraining order I could not go home we're all my meds are they want me to get I'll so my brother can take my money card and spend it all like last time my mother cover's for him because she gets drugs off him help me please with a advocate

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 2 2018 at 10:17 am
Hi Troy,

Thanks for reaching out and leaving a comment. I'm sorry to hear about your suffering. It sounds like you are living in a very toxic environment. Is there any possibility that you can move out? Are you in the US? There are a few places you can look for an advocate. Did you explain your situation to the police when you were arrested? You can try your county mental health board, or a local community mental health agency. Your local NAMI chapter might even know of local resources. Please don't give up. Sometimes you really have to dig to find the right resources, but they are out there.
Leslie boslar
says:
January, 20 2018 at 6:05 pm
X careprovider for a mentally I'll drug abuser jailed for assult blaims family and me bipolor no meds and alcohol abuse
Jackie
says:
May, 21 2017 at 6:05 am
I have had mental problems all my life, BAD my husband died in 2014, my mental state became worse. My daughter seemed to try. But I ask to live with her she refused her boyfriend didn't like me. But then I was run over and there was a chance I would get a settlement, then she wanted me I was so happy. I found out later that it was her boyfriends idea. I thought they loved me! But it became a nightmare for me she yelled at me scolded me and she said she would help me but it got worse her boyfriend scolded me called me names talked ugly to me bad things she just sat there he told me I had 24 hours to get out. He done bad stuff to hurt me he stop talking to me and would look at me like he hated me and lots of other bad stuff I could not do anything right it made me crazy depressed sucifial . They said it should invest my money $50,000 in a Mr. Sticker. Usiness I bought my daughter a car then she wanted to borrow 10,000 more dollars. He threw me out now I live in a camper. I do my understand what I did. I have had a nervous breakdown I am very sick and depressed my daughter will not answer my calls and may or may not answer my text her boyfriend threaten to hurt my car GABBIE. I do t know what I done I gave them everything I had now I don't have anybody!i am .

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Ruth
says:
August, 2 2017 at 8:55 pm
To everyone who is feeling hopeless may God bless you and hold you up I know this feeling of shame and hopelessness it is so unbearable please hold strong till tomorrow and see what you can do

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Thomas Wittman
says:
June, 14 2018 at 11:25 pm
Sirs;
I write this out of desperation. This guy rented me a room 5 weeks ago and total hell has existing since my arrival. First he has cameras in every room. Then about 8 days into my stay while sanding his kitchen cupboards for 12 hours a day. He tells me I have a "Nice Ass". Then on memorial day I tell him I was leaving because I am not gay, he convinces me he's not. Only to move a 30yr old boy into his bedroom to sleep on my bed which he swindled from my always indecisive Bi-Polar mind. He knew I suffer with this mental disorder yet continued to take all of my money and belongings all while thinking about my ass! This is a criminal of merciless drive. He yells at me 24/7 to get out yet demands labor even then "rents" me a filthy cluttered garage. Only to spend the next two weeks 24hrs a day cleaning. My phone is dying call Tom 505-730-0134
cj
says:
August, 24 2016 at 6:52 am
I have been working as a life skills specialist for several years. I have a fairly new client an 18 year old male. He has a Terrible history and many behavioral problems most of which I can proffessionally handle with re-directing or doing positive activities while explaining to him the consequences of his behaviors. But reciently he has turned his behaviors to extremely innapprpriate sexual comments and actions. For instance staying he wants to f### staff and neighbor's. He does not appear to understand this is innapprpriate. These behaviors have been documented on a daily basis. I continue to talk to him but to no avail. These actions have made me feel very uncomfortable and violated. Just this morning he dropped his pants. Put his penis in his hand and asked me if I wanted some of this. I am currently asking to be taken out of that sight house. However I don't believe it is going to stop. I am visually shaking and confused as to what to do. He is an adult and I am thinking of filing sexual harassment charges. Can someone help me as to where to to from here. This was reported to my supervisor.
Tony
says:
July, 6 2016 at 9:16 am
I'm being abused emotionally and financially by my ex wife. She even pulled a gun and was going to shoot me. She stole my ssi check, and also trying to make me abandon my land. And refuse to let me see my kids.
Jasmine
says:
June, 9 2016 at 8:32 pm
You can't fight those people, they're seen as gods by society.
Jasmine
says:
June, 9 2016 at 8:31 pm
The best way to avoid abuse is to not lock your supposed "loved ones" away and keep yourself safely away from psychiatry in general.
Sickofabuse
says:
June, 1 2016 at 6:12 am
Hi Todd,
Im so sorry to hear what you've been through. Sounds like your coworkers are sick emotional bullies. There could be different reasons why they're setting you up. Maybe someone else wants your job. Could be like you said, they are biased towards people with mental illness, this is very common. I experienced this at a job many yrs ago. Once they found out they made my job extra difficult, always nit picking, etc. basically hoping I'd quit. Anyhow your situation- right now what matters most is to stay safe and I would keep logs of all abusive incidents, conversations etc.
Are you in TX? You can report abuse online or phone: https://www.txabusehotline.org/Login/Default.aspx

You may want to get free legal advice from Legalaid- someone who has experience with mentally disabled people. It's important to know your rights if they try to fire you.

I don't know the whole story but sounds like a horrible work environment. Can you look for other work?

Hope this helps. :-)
Todd Arrant
says:
May, 21 2016 at 1:46 pm
i have called everyone i know to call but no help for me,they are trying to get a case against me to make it look like i am dangerous but i am am not.i do my job and have only wanted to be left alone,but it seems that my coworkers like to abuse the mentaly ill.i was injured on the tamu campus while working as a plumber in 2010 chemical burn to the face(ptsd)just want people to know that they have recored,monitored ,video me and trying to make me look like a monster,when they are the monsters,abusing the mentaly ill,due to an on the job injury.
Todd Arrant
says:
May, 21 2016 at 1:38 pm
i have ptsd and believe that people are setting me up to make me look unstable.i have reported my delema but seems to fall on death ears,i believe that some of my coworks or their friends are trying to set me up and make it look like i am a danger to others,but i have never hurt anyone.not sure why they hate me so much but it is what it is. i work for tamu univ and the ate trying to him me up.
George waite
says:
May, 15 2016 at 2:30 pm
I am a white male age 55. I was abused mentally and emotionally by my mother and male friend for years. I have kept it a secret. I don't want to hide it anymore. They have never been dealt with. My brother died from mental illness in my home. They both contributed to his death. I want to tell people. I wanted to make a statement at the court house, but they could not. It's been many years . 1996. I want to tell an agency so their is a record. No one from law enforcement can take a report from me. Ty. I live in Wayne county.
leslie center
says:
March, 9 2016 at 6:34 pm
Where do I report someone who has taken my mentally ill sister's social security monies and had her take out payday loans and now has her debit card and won't return her things and had her sleeping on a floor in a house that had no electricity or water for 4months. She is very afraid of this couple. I live in orange county california. I don't want anything else to happen to her or others they are doing this to. She is safe now but I need her social security pay card and paperwork they are holding

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Oberg
says:
March, 10 2016 at 10:52 am
Adult Protective Services would be your best bet.

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