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The Seclusion and Restraint Declaration

In 2005, all Australian Governments agreed to act to reduce and where possible to eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint.  Despite this, when the National Mental Health Commission was started in 2012, seclusion and restraint was raised time and time again as an issue that people want something done about.  It was raised by individuals and their families, and it was raised by services providers and policy makers.

Recognising that 45% of Australians will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime – and that the true beneficiaries of reduced seclusion and restraint are people living with mental health problems and those who support them – we invite you to sign up to the declaration below and be part of driving change.


I believe that seclusion and restraint of people with mental health problems is a human rights issue. 

I believe that the use of seclusion and restraint is not therapeutic.

I believe that the use of seclusion and restraint is distressing to everyone involved.

I believe that seclusion and restraint is an uncomfortable topic that we need to talk a lot more about.

I believe it is a failure in care and a sign of a system under stress.

I believe that reducing seclusion and restraint reduces injury to people, including staff.

I know that there are alternatives to seclusion and restraint. I believe that staff including nurses, doctors, peer workers, allied health workers, police, ambulance officers, community sector workers, wardens and others must receive adequate support, resourcing and training that support these alternatives.

I believe we need consistent, national data that gives an accurate and meaningful account of what’s really going on.

I believe all Australian governments must take responsibility for acting on that data and addressing the use of seclusion and restraint, and reporting on progress.

I believe that when seclusion and restraint happens the circumstances that lead to it must be talked about and reviewed so that better outcomes can be achieved next time for all involved.

I believe we all have a part to play in calling for change.

Download the declaration


Seclusion and Restraint Declaration

PDF, 58.31 KB

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past present and emerging, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.