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Statement on seclusion and restraint in mental health

The Commission supports working towards the elimination of seclusion and restraint of people experiencing mental health difficulties in mental health services.

Jackie Crowe, a Commissioner at the National Mental Health Commission released our position paper on seclusion, restraint and restrictive practices in mental health at the 10th National Seclusion and Restraint Forum in Melbourne on 29th May 2015. 

The position paper has been informed by an international literature review, surveys and focus groups with people who have a lived experience of seclusion and restraint.  This work was undertaken by the University of Melbourne, and in partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada and key Australian partners, including the Safety and Quality Partnerships Subcommittee, Australian Human Rights Commission, and interested state mental health commissions. In addition, the Core Reference Group provided expert advice to the Commission and the project team, and oversaw the project team’s work.

The Commission urges all Australian governments to support the commitment made in 2005 to reduce and where possible to eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint by giving priority to achieving:

  • jurisdictional agreement on definitions for seclusion, physical restraint, mechanical restraint and chemical restraint that is then reflected in jurisdictional legislation
  • targets and reporting frameworks that ensure that we have consistent, national data that give an accurate and meaningful account of what’s really going on
  • a national approach to the regulation of seclusion and restraint that includes:
    • standards and guidelines to support national consistency in approach to reducing the use of seclusion and restraint
    • inclusion of a standard specifically addressing restrictive interventions in the next revision of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards
    • national monitoring and reporting on seclusion and restraint across jurisdictions and services.

Position paper on Seclusion and Restraint

PDF, 457.68 KB

Seclusion and Restraint- University of Melbourne Overview

PDF, 318.6 KB

Seclusion and Restraint- University of Melbourne Report

PDF, 6.77 MB
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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.