Do stay at home orders like those related to COVID-19 increase the risk of domestic violence against people with SMI?

There is no published evidence around the association between stay at home orders, domestic violence, and SMI. Prior research has noted that compared to the general population, patients with SMI are at substantially increased risk of being victims of domestic and sexual violence [1]. An April 2020 perspective piece in Lancet Psychiatry noted that “domestic violence and alcohol consumption might increase during lockdown,” but this was in reference to the general population and not just those with SMI [2].

For patients you see with concerns for domestic violence, SAMHSA offers several resources:

Resources around intimate partner violence are available here.

Resources and information for discussing with patients are available here.



  1. Khalifeh H, Moran P, Borschmann R, Dean K, Hart C, Hogg J, Osborn D, Johnson S, Howard LM. Domestic and sexual violence against patients with severe mental illness. Psychological medicine. 2015 Mar;45(4):875-86.
  2. David Gunnell, Louis Appleby, Ella Arensman, Keith Hawton, Ann John, Nav Kapur, Murad Khan, Rory C O’Connor, Jane Pirkis, Louis Appleby, Ella Arensman, Eric D Caine, Lai Fong Chan, Shu-Sen Chang, Ying-Yeh Chen, Helen Christensen, Rakhi Dandona, Michael Eddleston et al. Suicide risk and prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet Psychiatry. April 2020
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