Achieving the best health and wellbeing for all Victorians is a key priority for the Victorian Government. In the Victorian public mental health system, this will be achieved through recovery-oriented practice that minimises the use and duration of compulsory treatment; safeguards the rights and dignity of people with a mental illness; and enhances oversight while encouraging innovation and service improvement.
Consistent with these objectives, the Department of Health, the Chief Psychiatrist and mental health services share a commitment to reducing and where possible eliminating restrictive interventions in mental health services. The aim is to achieve a safe environment through a systematic approach that involves consumers, carers, the mental health workforce and mental health management.
Restrictive interventions are not therapeutic. They are intrusive practices used as a last resort to prevent serious and imminent harm to a consumer or another person. In Victoria, the Department of Health, the Chief Psychiatrist and public mental health services have undertaken a number of activities to promote the reduction of restrictive interventions. Restrictive interventions should only be used after all possible preventative practices have been tried or considered and have been found to be unsuitable. The use of restrictive interventions has been linked to re-traumatision of past experiences, serious injuries and even death. When used, restrictive intervention needs to be approached by a registered nurse or registered medical practitioner in a way that maximises the physical and psychological well-being of all involved, given the risks involved.