A call for action to eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint
Positioned for Change

Seclusion, restraint and restrictive practices in mental health is gaining attention after the National Mental Health Commission recently formalised its position paper on this human rights issue.

Commissioner Jackie Crowe states, “There is a lack of evidence internationally to support seclusion and restraint in mental health services. There is strong agreement that it is a human rights issue, that it has no therapeutic value, that it has resulted in emotional and physical harm, and that it can be a sign of a system under stress.”

At the 10th National Seclusion and Restraint Forum in Melbourne on 29th May 2015, a position paper was released (informed by an international literature review, surveys and focus groups with people who have a lived experience of seclusion and restraint) to urge governments to prioritise the commitment made in 2005 to address this ongoing issue.

The paper outlines action of the following achievements: 

  • 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.

In 2014, Neami signed the declaration stating our commitment to driving change in the area of seclusion and restraint. You can also express your support by signing the declaration.

Read the full position statement and report here.

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