Keeping the impact of harm in mind

Harmful behaviour by people who are ill or disabled may be different from that of people who do not have health issues in several ways.  Some illnesses and disabilities may cause people to act in more aggressive or unpredictable ways.  This can happen when people experience increased pain and sensitivity.  It can also happen when people experience mental health conditions that affect how their brain works.  This can be very confusing and distressing to people with such conditions and it can be difficult to communicate how they are feeling.


Similarly, people may not recognise that when they are acting in a way that can be harmful.  Other people may struggle to cope with being ill and having to change their life as a result of illness.  They may act on the difficult feelings that it brings up as they are trying to adapt and to take back control over a difficult situation.   It is also true that some harmful behaviour starts before people become ill and that this behaviour continues and changes in ill health.


However, it is also important to recognise that carers are likely to be negatively and possibly significantly affected by such behaviour whatever the cause or name of the harm.  It is their needs and experiences that the Hidden Harm Project is focused on raising awareness of and understanding better in order to bring about practical changes for affected families.