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Mental Health

Use of seclusion and physical restraint in mental health services 'unacceptable'

The Mental Health Commission recommended a change in attitudes and behaviours of all staff in relation to recovery-focused treatment.

THE MENTAL HEALTH Commission has concerns in relation to services which impinge on human rights.

In his annual report address, chairman John Saunders described the extent of the continued usage of seclusion and physical restraint as “unacceptable”.

A consultation with more than 50 major stakeholders has been carried out and a report is due to be published shortly.

Junior Minister Kathleen Lynch is also conducting a review of the Mental Health Act 2001, with a view to enhancing compliance with international human rights legislation.

Change in attitudes needed

A number of deficiencies were highlighted in today’s report, including a delay in filling vacant roles, a “slippage in compliance” and a diminished attempt to provide recovery-oriented services.

Implementation of services focused on recovery rather than illness management is uneven, according to the chairman, who noted a “significant absence” of psychology, social work, occupational, and other multidisciplinary team members.

He said that in order for there to be a fully-developed recovery-oriented service, a cultural shift is required.

“There needs to be a change in attitudes and behaviours so that all staff delivering mental health services are trained in recovery competencies, work in a partnership style with service users and their families and work cohesively with other mental health professionals to provide an integrated, responsive and person-centred service that responds to the needs of individuals and their families in a timely and appropriate manner,” he said.

Deaths in care

The report also provided figures for the number of deaths that had occurred while people were admitted to approved centres.

During the 12 month period, the Commission was notified of 174 deaths in 45 centres. Of these, 19 were sudden, unexplained deaths – a category that includes suicide.

Download the full report here>

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