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National Mental Health Commission acts on seclusion and restraint

18 May 2017

The National Mental Health Commission calls for all mental health services to increase their effort towards eliminating the use of seclusion and restraint. 

The Commission’s CEO, Dr Peggy Brown said everyone in a mental health service has a right to receive safe and contemporary care and to be treated with dignity and respect. 

“A guiding principle underpinning safe and contemporary care of individuals with a mental illness is respect for human rights,” Dr Brown said. 

“The system needs to be closely examined, so care can be delivered without using interventions that are experienced as adverse by consumers, cares and staff alike. 

“We recommend the universal adoption of strategies and training guidelines which support the goal of eliminating seclusion and mechanical and physical restraint in mental health services.”

The Commission produced the A case for change: Position Paper on seclusion, restraint and restrictive practices in mental health services and supports the newly released National Principles to Support the Goal of Eliminating Mechanical and Physical Restraint in Mental Health Services.

Dr Brown said Australia’s mental health sector is undergoing significant reform and the use of best practice standards and guidelines need to be adopted. 

“The Commission supports a national approach to the regulation of seclusion and restraint with nationally consistent standards and guidelines,” Dr Brown said. 

“There needs to be jurisdictional agreement on definitions for seclusion, physical restraint, mechanical restraint and chemical restraint that is reflected in jurisdictional legislation. 

“We also require a national approach to monitoring and reporting on seclusion and restraint across jurisdictions and services,” she said.


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