National seclusion and restraint project

In the National Mental Health Commission’s extensive discussions with the community, services and stakeholders, practices of seclusion and restraint have consistently been raised as an issue people want something done about. It has been raised by people with lived experience of mental health issues and their families, and it has been raised by service providers and workers and policy makers as well.

While this is a very complex issue, the Commission recommended in its 2012 Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention that action must be taken to reduce the use of involuntary practices and work to eliminate seclusion and restraint.

In 2013 the National Mental Health Commission engaged the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Melbourne to look at best practice in reducing and eliminating the use of seclusion and restraint in relation to mental health issues and help identify good practice treatment approaches. The research team identified the factors that drive current practice in service delivery and evaluated how these factors can lead to best practice.

The project collected data from a survey and focus groups and invited the direct input of people with lived experience, their families, friends and supporters as well as service providers, workforce interest groups and first responders. It also established two advisory groups which consisted of people who have experienced seclusion or restraint themselves and carers, families or friends of people who have experienced seclusion or restraint. Each group consisted of six people who were continuously engaged with the research team and provided input throughout all stages of the project.

With the participation of people with lived experience, their families, friends and supporters as well as practitioners and other service providers working in a range of mental health, general health, custodial and community settings, the project team:

  • identified and assessed the drivers behind current practice in Australia;
  • provided examples of how seclusion and restraint practices have been reduced or eliminated; and
  • discussed options for reducing and eliminating the use of seclusion and restraint in relation to mental health issues in Australia.
  • Professor Bernadette McSherry
  • Principal Chief Investigator

    Melbourne Social Equity Institute

  • Photo-Janet Clinton
    Professor Janet Clinton

    Chief Investigator

    Melbourne Graduate School of Education

  • Photo-Carol Harvey
    Professor Carol Harvey

    Chief Investigator

    Pychosocial Research Centre

  • Photo-Stuart Kinner
    Associate Professor Stuart Kinner

    Chief Investigator

    Melbourne School of Population and Global Health 

  • Photo-Lisa Brophy
    Dr Lisa Brophy

    Chief Investigator

    Centre for Health Policy, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

  • Photo-Bridget Hamilton
    Dr Bridget Hamilton

    Chief Investigator

    Department of Nursing

  • Dr Annegret Kaempf

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Melbourne Social Equity Institute 
  • Piers Gooding

    Research Assistant

    Melbourne Social Equity Institute

  • Cath Roper

    Chief Investigator

    Centre for Psychiatric Nursing

  • Hadeel Al-Nawab

    Research Assistant

    Melbourne Graduate School of Education

  • Photo-Juan Tellez
    Juan Tellez

    Research Assistant

    Melbourne Social Equity Institute 

  • Kay Wilson

    Research Assistant

    Melbourne Social Equity Institute

Publications

McSherry B., Brophy L., Hamilton B., Roper C., Tellez J., "Reducing seclusion and restraint" (2017) April (41) The Health Advocate 34-35

Roper C., McSherry B., Brophy L., “Defining Seclusion and Restraint: Legal and Policy Definitions Versus Consumer and Carer Perspectives” (2015) 23(2) Journal of Law and Medicine 297-302

Brophy L., Roper C., Hamilton B., Tellez J., McSherry B., “Consumers and Their Supporters’ Perspectives on Poor Practice and the Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Mental Health Settings: Results from Australian Focus Groups” (2016) 10(6) International Journal of Mental Health Systems 1-10

Brophy L., Hamilton B., Roper C., Tellez J., McSherry B., “Consumers’ and their Supporters’ Perspectives on Barriers and Strategies to Reducing Seclusion and Restraint in Mental Health Settings” (2016) 40(6) Australian Health Review 599-604

Kinner S., Harvey C., Hamilton B., Brophy L., Roper C., McSherry B., Young J., “Attitudes Towards Seclusion and Restraint in Mental Health Settings: Findings from a Large, Community-based Survey of Consumers, Carers and Mental Health Professionals” (2016) Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences 1-10

McSherry B., and Tellez J., “Current Challenges for the Regulation of Chemical Restraint in Healthcare Settings” (2016) 24 Journal of Law and Medicine 15-19

Melbourne Social Equity Institute (2014) Seclusion and restraint project report. Melbourne: University of Melbourne

Conference/Seminar Presentations

McSherry B., “Rethinking the Use of Restraints in Health Care Settings”, Melbourne Law School, 9 May 2016.

Roper C., “Consumers perspectives on seclusion and restraint”, Service User Academia Symposium, Wellington, 30 November 2015.

Brophy L., McSherry B., Roper C., Tellez J., “The perspectives of people with lived experience of mental health issues on how to reduce seclusion and restraint, International Academy of Law and Mental Health Conference, Vienna, 17 July 2015.

Wilson K., “Law and Medicine: Working Together to Reduce Seclusion and Restraint in Health Settings” 15th Greek/Australian International Legal and Medical Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece, 31 May – 6 June 2015.

Brophy L., Hamilton B., McSherry B., Roper C., Tellez J., “Consumer and Carer Perspectives on Strategies to Reduce Seclusion and Restraint in Mental Health Settings” 10th National Seclusion and Restraint Reduction Forum, Canberra, 28 May 2015.

Brophy L., Hamilton B., Roper C., “Consumer and Carer Perspectives on Barriers and Strategies to Reducing Seclusion and Restraint in Mental Health Settings” Qualitative Methods Research Conference Melbourne, 28 April 2015.

McSherry B., “Perspectives on Barriers to and Strategies for Reducing Seclusion and Restraint: Key results from the National Mental Health Commission Project”, Te Pou, National Centre of Mental Health Research, Information and Workforce Development, Auckland, New Zealand, 18 February 2015.

McSherry B., "Perspectives on Barriers to and Strategies for Reducing Seclusion and Restraint: Key Results from the National Mental Health Commission's Seclusion and Restraint Project", Aggression Management Forum, Lecture, Melbourne, 14 November 2014.

McSherry B., "Seclusion and restraint",  Health and Disability Law Committees’ Roundtable, Law Institute of Victoria, Melbourne, 28 October 2014.

McSherry B., “National Mental Health Commission: Seclusion and Restraint Project” Safety and Quality Partnership Standing Committee, Sydney, 21 March 2014.

McSherry B., "The right to physical integrity: reducing seclusion and restraint in mental health services",  Inaugural Conference: Imagining Social Equity, Melbourne Social Equity Institute, Melbourne, 28 February 2014.

Media


No longer justifiable: seclusion and restraint practices in mental healthThe Age, Tuesday 10 June 2014

Targeting isolation and restraint in mental health facilitiesThe Conversation, Monday 9 September 2013