Author Archives: Dr. Raymond B. Flannery Jr.

Psychiatric Patients’ Assaults on Staff: A Worldwide Review, 2017-22

It happened again last night and several more times today. You wouldn’t know that of course. The media did not report it, politicians ignored it, and there are no specific protest groups addressing it. Again, you wouldn’t know about it. Yet it did happen. It actually happened many times. All over the world. Some psychiatric […]

Psychiatric Patients’ Assaults: A Worldwide Perspective, 2017-22

Life is not fair in many circumstances. The serious mental illness of schizophrenia is one of those circumstances. No one likes being sick but the reality of schizophrenia is truly burdensome. Schizophrenia is a biologically rooted disease for which there are helpful treatments but no cure. One is born with this illness but it does […]

Enduring Values in an Age of Change?

Ours is a turbulent and challenging age with many major cultural shifts seemingly happening all at once. A few examples: world powers jockey for dominance, civil rights and other rights’ advocates compete to be heard, major social shifts occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with its many impacts isolating persons from each other, […]

Psychological Trauma/Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and News Reporters

“If it bleeds, it leads” is a common expression among news reporters preparing evening-news programs across the country. These news stories usually emerge in response to critical incidents, such as natural disasters and various acts of human violence. These are the incidents to which first responders are called. These are also the critical events that […]

PTSD and Public-works Employees

I remember Uncle Harry in my younger days as a happy, hard-working husband and father of two. Outgoing and gregarious, he was always upbeat and helpful. He enjoyed his public-works job as a way to help his community, he idolized his family, and he would do anything to help others. But it changed. It changed […]

Caring Attachments: A 9/11 Encounter among Strangers

Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my soul and my God and turned my dreams to dust.—Elie Wiesel This is a true story of caring attachments among complete strangers as recounted by the principals involved and the first responders onsite. On 9/11/2001, New York Fire Department Ladder 6 was dispatched to the World […]

The Power of Two

Given the pressures in today’s world, would you welcome the opportunity to lessen your life stress and anxiety? Reduce your dysphoria and depression? Improve your physical health and sense of well-being? Even lengthen your life? What if I told you that you could attain all of these health benefits at no cost to your health-insurance […]

COVID-19 Lockdowns and Violence: Attachment Theory Revisited

As COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in 2022, people put aside masks, social distancing, and lockdown social isolation to venture out to restore a more normal life. Most found that the “old” normal had been altered during the lockdown and had been replaced by “new” normal, e.g., some employees now worked from home, some local small […]

Violence as COVID-19 Lockdowns Are Eased

It is happening everywhere. Adults are assaulted or shot in bars and entertainment venues. Teenagers and gang members kill each other in broad daylight. Children are murdered in their classrooms. Dinner guests who do not know each other break out in brawls in restaurants. Why is there this increase in crime and violence as COVID-19 […]

Child Abuse, Natural Disasters, and Health Care Providers

A busy pediatrician looked troubled and tense. He had seen this five-year old, Angela, once before two years ago. Then, it was a fall from some playground equipment her mother had said. Today, mom reported that it was a fractured wrist due to a fall from Angela’s bicycle. However this didn’t explain the child’s two […]

Domestic Violence, Natural Disasters, and Health Care Providers

“Home is where the heart is” is a common expression that connotes caring and support. However in some homes it means heartache, medical injury, psychological terror, and even death. Not all family values are good, prosocial values; some are violent and destructive. Domestic violence (DV) refers to the physical, sexual, verbal/oral, and nonverbal acts of […]

The Assaulted Staff Action Program: 30 Years of Service to Employee Victims

It happens. Violence suddenly erupts. It may be in homes, in schools, in factories, in houses of worship, or in the community’s streets. We know what happens. The first responders arrive. The assailant is subdued. The media encamps and reports the incident(s). Counselors arrive to assist the victims and witnesses. What would happen if violence […]

Trauma Surgeons and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Mental toughness…..Mental toughness. A characteristic highly prized by trauma surgeons. Today, however, one trauma surgeon didn’t have it. She had difficulty concentrating, and the patient before her had serious life-threatening injuries that required her full attention. She had been a trauma surgeon now for twelve years. She was always excited about surgery and the chance […]

Preventing Youth Violence: Twenty Years Later (Enhanced Findings and Treatment Interventions, Part 2)

Twenty years ago I published a book (that link goes to the new edition, with additional information by scrolling down here) on a topic of national concern: preventing youth violence. The American Mental Health Foundation (AMHF) requested I write two blogs that highlighted the contents in the book. The first blog reviewed the early/serious/urgent warning […]

Preventing Youth Violence: A Guide for Parents, Teachers, and Counselors

Preventing Youth Violence: Twenty Years Later (New Findings, Part 1)

Twenty years ago I published a book on a topic of national concern: preventing youth violence (Flannery, 2012a). The American Mental Health Foundation (AMHF), with its emphasis on improving mental-health awareness, requested I write two blogs (herewith, in 2019, are these two new essays) on some of the topics in the book. The first blog, from […]

SUDEP: Sudden Unexpected Death in a Person with Epilepsy

This essay has been prepared in consultation with Evander Lomke, president and executive director of The American Mental Health Foundation. It is posted in memory of Elizabeth Leah Lomke, September 19, 1986 – June 4, 2018. The medical community and the general public are fully cognizant of the unexpected death of otherwise apparently healthy infants, […]

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Coroner First Responders

Dateline: Miami, Florida, March 15, 2018 The day dawned bright and sunny with typical early spring Florida warmth. People began to wake up, and each person began to plan the day. Everyone left home for work, for school, for local errands. Some did not realize that they would never be returning home. Ever. Each sat […]

Precipitants to Patient Assaults: A Worldwide View, 2013-17

He was quiet but definitely paranoid. The staff could agree on this. He refused to eat any of the hospital meals to avoid being poisoned. He was quite clear about this and would only eat commercially sealed prepackaged foodstuffs, such as corn chips. Nonetheless, he was quiet and usually cooperative. Still, the staff noticed that […]

Staff Victims of Psychiatric Patient Assaults: A Worldwide Perspective, 2013-17

(Please also see Assaultive Psychiatric Patients: A Worldwide Perspective, 2013-17.) Patient assaults on health-care staff are a serious and worldwide occupational hazard for caregivers, all disciplines. These assaults may result in death, permanent or temporary disability, medical and legal expense, lost productivity, and severe psychological distress. They impair overall personal and institutional morale. Assaults may […]

Assaultive Psychiatric Patients: A Worldwide Perspective, 2013-17

There are many types of human-perpetrated violence. However, there is one form of this violence that occurs on a daily basis worldwide and that receives limited media attention. That act of violence is an assault on a healthcare provider in a healthcare setting. Not all psychiatric patients are assaultive but some are, and these assaults […]

Terrorism: An Overview

Where was God? Dateline: Boston, Massachusetts, April 15, 2013 The day was perfect. Bright sunshine, a pleasant warmth. College student, Victoria McGrath, was excited. The Boston Marathon was a premier sports event. The crowd was excited as well. The enthusiasm was electric and Victoria positioned herself near the finish line, so as to have the […]

Psychological Trauma and First Responders

It had been a bad week. Fighting fires is a war that never ends but this had been a bad week. Ladder 6 had been called to a motor-vehicle accident on Monday afternoon. In the passenger’s seat had been a young mother. On impact she was thrown through the windshield and was now impaled on […]

Staff Victims of Psychiatric Patient Assaults: A Worldwide Perspective

(This is the second of two companion essays on assaultive psychiatric patients. The first focused on the characteristics of patient assailants. This second essay focuses on staff victims. The interested reader will want to read both essays to have a comprehensive understanding of this worldwide problem.) Psychiatric patient assaults on healthcare staff are a worldwide […]

Psychiatric Patient Assaults on Healthcare Staff: A Worldwide Perspective

Dateline: Anywhere, Any Time The voice in Daniel’s head kept saying “The nurse is trying to kill you. The nurse is trying to kill you. The nurse is trying to kill you.” Daniel, a twenty-two-year-old patient with schizophrenic illness, became very frightened, then terrified, then explosively angry. “Time for medicines. Patients please come to the […]

Caring Attachments: Their Role in Good Physical and Mental Health

All of the great religious and ethical codes in the history of civilization have had one common denominator: Love one another. This dictum of caring for others has been explained in extensive writings in the fields of theology, philosophy, and literature that cite the resultant benefits to the recipients, the sense of altruism in those […]

Managing Stress in a Global World

Traffic jams, delayed flights, long lines at checkout, college tuitions, no work/mandatory overtime, credit-card debt, family responsibilities, few cost of living increases. The list goes on. Ours is an age of global markets, intense competition, and time scarcity. As a result many of us feel overwhelmed, irritable, and worn-out. It need not be this way. […]

Psychological Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Part 2, Treatment and Interventions

In part 1 of this essay we examined the nature of psychological trauma, an individual’s physical and psychological response to sudden, usually unexpected, potentially life-threatening events, and the emergence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) thirty-one days later. We reviewed the disruptions that may occur in the domains of good physical and mental health (reasonable mastery, […]

Psychological Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Part 1, Its General Nature

It was seven o’clock in the morning when she awoke, after yet another terrible night’s sleep with her recurring nightmares. As usual, fifteen-year-old Maureen was paralyzed from the waist down. This paralysis had terrified her at first but now she was used to it. It would go away when he left for work. The “he” […]

Preventing Violence in the Workplace: Part 2, Risk Management Strategies

Part 1 of this essay examined the general nature of violence in the workplace. It noted the major types of crimes in the workplace, the various types of patient assailants, the theories that seek to explain such violent behavior, and the various physical and psychological impacts such violence has on staff victims. Part 2 examines […]

Preventing Violence in the Workplace: Part 1, Its General Nature

The alarm clock goes off. You are up and about and, in time, you make your way to work. As you enter your worksite, you think: another routine day at work. But what if it were not a routine day? What if today you became a victim of violence in the workplace? It could happen […]

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