National Seclusion and Restraint Project

In the National Mental Health Commission’s work over the last two years seclusion and restraint has consistently been raised as an issue that people want something done about. It is raised by people with lived experience of mental health issues and their families, and it is raised by service providers and policy makers as well. Change is needed, and change needs the proactive involvement of parties.

That’s why the National Mental Health Commission has engaged a multi-disciplinary team at the University of Melbourne to deliver a national Seclusion and Restraint Project. The project is looking at best practice in reducing and eliminating the seclusion and restraint of people with mental health issues.

The project will extend beyond the health and hospital system and facilities (such as inpatient units and emergency departments) to include the use of seclusion and restraint in community, custodial and ambulatory settings and by first responders. Hearing from people who have a lived experience will be an important part of the research for the national project.

Visit the project website to find out more

Get involved - the Seclusion and Restraint Project Survey

This is an important project that is attracting international interest. You can contribute by participating in an online survey. We hope the findings of this research will have important implications for policy and practice. It will also pull together the latest information for everyone involved.

The survey has ethics approval, is anonymous, open to anyone over 18 and does not seek detailed information about experiences of seclusion and restraint. People with a lived experience of mental health issues, their families and support people as well as practitioners and other service providers working in a range of mental health, general health, custodial and community settings are particularly encouraged to participate.

Complete the survey here

Sign up to 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 and be part of driving change.

Sign up here

Project Team

A multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the University of Melbourne headed up by Professor Bernadette McSherry will undertake a research project into the extent of seclusion and restraint in Australia and comparable countries and provide examples of the reduction and elimination of these practices.

Read the biographies of the Project Team

Read a presentation from Professor Bernadette McSherry

Core Reference Group (CRG)

The Commission has formed a Core Reference Group (CRG) of experts that includes people with lived experience and their families, clinicians and people working in services, as well as human rights, legal and disability advocates.

View a list of the CRG members

Meeting minutes 24 June 2013 PDF 72KB

"Even the most disadvantaged Australians should be able to lead a 'contributing life,' whatever that means for them and this simple goal will be our touchstone and yardstick."

Chair Prof Allan Fels AO
National Mental Health Commission

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