Toward coercion free, trauma-informed care in Australian adult mental health services: strategies for social workers [2020]

Least restrictive practice is a key principle of mental health legislation. It seeks to minimize coercion and maximize the human rights of mental health service users. Coercive practice, with a focus on seclusion, is explored from a whole-of-mental-health-system perspective as distinct from the behavior of individual service users. Exemplar coercion-reducing strategies arising from the reviewed research and literature are outlined. The exemplars can strengthen the utility of the least restrictive principle by extending non-coercive practice options for mental health social workers. The strategies bring a focus to proactive trauma-informed systemic changes and community level alternatives to hospitalization, coercion and seclusion.

Dyann Ross, PhD
Social Work in Mental Health, Volume 18, 2020 – Issue 5