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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 below and be part of driving change.


I believe that seclusion and restraint of people with mental health problems is a human rights issue. 

I believe that the use of seclusion and restraint is not therapeutic.

I believe that the use of seclusion and restraint is distressing to everyone involved.

I believe that seclusion and restraint is an uncomfortable topic that we need to talk a lot more about.

I believe it is a failure in care and a sign of a system under stress.

I believe that reducing seclusion and restraint reduces injury to people, including staff.

I know that there are alternatives to seclusion and restraint. I believe that staff including nurses, doctors, peer workers, allied health workers, police, ambulance officers, community sector workers, wardens and others must receive adequate support, resourcing and training that support these alternatives.

I believe we need consistent, national data that gives an accurate and meaningful account of what’s really going on.

I believe all Australian governments must take responsibility for acting on that data and addressing the use of seclusion and restraint, and reporting on progress.

I believe that when seclusion and restraint happens the circumstances that lead to it must be talked about and reviewed so that better outcomes can be achieved next time for all involved.

I believe we all have a part to play in calling for change.

Download the declaration

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