​At a glance

It is a myth that people with mental health conditions are violent and unpredictable. They are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. However, there may be occasions when you need to support someone who can be violent.

Anger, aggression and violence can arise from situations where someone:

  • feels frustrated, disappointed, threatened, powerless, hurt, resentful or confused
  • is in a situation that triggers memories of past trauma
  • has a past history of dealing with frustration by violence
  • is using alcohol or drugs
  • is not getting effective treatment for their condition.

If you are supporting a person who can be violent, it is important to:

  • understand the person’s triggers, and the reasons why they can become aggressive
  • have a plan on what to do and who to contact if this is required
  • recognise the potential signs of distress and be able to act to prevent violence
  • identify danger situations and respond appropriately.

Your safety is important. Make sure you are aware of your organisation’s process for dealing with these types of situations to ensure that everyone, including yourself, remains safe.

Workers also often make the mistake of thinking that the person’s need for support is over as soon as they have calmed, which is not true. … after the person has calmed, they may experience shame, regret and sadness about their anger and require reassurance and support.

- A person with lived experience of a mental health condition



Understand and Recognise Triggers
This web page provides tips on understanding and identifying triggers that can make someone angry.
Type: Web page
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Produced by: Out of Home Care Toolbox

Recognising Aggression in Others
This is a guide to recognising the signs of aggression and try to avoid violent situations.
Type: Web page
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Produced by: Skills You Need

Dos and don'ts of managing a client who is angry or aggressive
This is a guide to do’s and don’ts when dealing with someone who may become angry or aggressive due to substance use.
Type: Web page
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Produced by: Cracks In The Ice

Facilitate responsible behaviour
This is a free online eLearning module which covers monitoring client behaviour, communication strategies to de-escalate conflict and managing conflict. In order to access this training, you will need to set up an account.
Type: eLearning
Produced by: QCOSS Community Door

Current as at: Monday 20 January 2020
Contact page owner: Mental Health