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Safer Mental Health Workplaces For Staff And Clients

The Andrews Labor Government is helping our mental health workforce provide safer environments for staff, patients and their families.

Safewards has been adapted from the United Kingdom and is about working to create a safe ward for everyone. It works by identifying and addressing the causes of behaviours in staff and patients that may result in harm, self-harm or absconding.

In the past year, it has been successfully trialled in 18 inpatient units and has been highly effective in creating safe environments for staff and in particular patients, with the rate of seclusion episodes reduced by a third across participating units.

More than 400 staff were trained in the model during the trial, and reported they made significant gains in knowledge, confidence and motivation to apply Safewards.

Recognising the results, the Labor Government, with the support of the Victorian Medical Insurance Agency, is now giving all mental health units across Victoria the opportunity to roll out the Safewards model.

An online tool has been developed by the Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse which provides training manual, slides and videos to assist health provides roll out the model.

This program complements the Government’s initiatives that work to reduce violence in our health system, including the $20 million Health Services Violence Prevention Fund, the Mental Health Workforce Stategy and training for frontline workers to respond safely to people affected by the drug of ice.

More information can be found at: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/safewards

Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

“Each year, more than 1.2 million Victorians have a mental health experience.”

“Safewards will help to ensure a safe and caring environment for mental health clients, visitors and staff.”

 No one should have to face violence at work, especially not the people who care for us.This is another investment to reduce violence at hospitals and mental health services and make facilities safer.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Finance Robin Scott

“This is just one of the ways we’re making workplaces safer in Victoria. We want to make sure every worker returns home safely to their loved ones at the end of the day.”