Authors: Shaun MacNeil
Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference
Subject: ‘I know why the caged bird sings’ - incorporating the voices of lived experience in a National Quality Improvement Project to eliminate seclusion by 2020.
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Shaun MacNeil is employed as a National Consumer (and Family) Engagement Advisor and has a history of more than 30 years working and volunteering in mental health and suicide prevention. He has a background in mental health nursing, leadership roles in independent advocacy and NGO services and significant consumer activism.
To achieve truly healthy communities, we must have mental health services which have fully completed the transformation from coercion to compassion. In 2017 the Health Quality and Safety Commission commenced New Zealand’s first ever Mental Health and Addiction Quality Improvement Programme. The programme’s first project seeks to eliminate the practice of seclusion, from all mental health and addiction environments, by the end of 2020. Seclusion is when a person is placed by themselves in a room or area from which they cannot freely exit. In other settings it is known as solitary confinement. Consumers experience the most significant trauma from being subject to seclusion and therefore their voice has been central to our work from the outset. We set out to model good practice in consumer and family/carer involvement, so that the project teams, involving front line health professionals, also included the lived experience voice at the centre of their efforts to reduce, and eventually eliminate, this practice. The presenter will discuss our findings to date and the implications, not only for health professionals and organisations/services, but also for communities and individuals.
Learning Objective 1: Participants experiencing this innovative presentation will take away the importance of engaging and including the lived experience of people who may be traumatised by aspects of their mental health care. This includes co-designing alternative approaches to people in acute distress, thus creating safer environments for all.
Learning Objective 2: This topic is a controversial one where the practice of seclusion is often driven by risk and unconscious bias rather than health professionals striving towards safer environments for all. Connections must be established, trust built and conflict reduced, until seclusion becomes no longer required, seclusion rooms are converted to other uses and the practice is permanently consigned to the past.