The Chief Psychiatrist is committed to reducing working towards the elimination of restrictive practices, seclusion and restraint, in Western Australia (WA). In order to promote transparency in the use of restrictive practices in WA, the Chief Psychiatrist has committed to publishing the rates of seclusion and restraint bi-annually for each authorised mental health service.
The historical rates of seclusion and restraint for the 2016 – 2017 financial year (1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017), and the 2017 – 2018 financial year (1 July 2017 – 30 June 2018), alongside charts showing trends in these data from 2016 – 2020 are now available.
See WA Seclusion and Restraint Data here
The Chief Mental Health Advocate, Ms Debora Colvin, stepped down from that role last Friday after a distinguished 13 years in the role.
She has forged an Advocacy Service with an incredibly strong integrity of model. Under her sage leadership, MHAS has been a true beacon for system accountability and a never-dimmed light on the path towards critical rights for the most vulnerable individuals in our community. Our collective thanks must go to Debora, with best wishes for her future.
We warmly welcome Ms Sarah Pollock as the new Chief Mental Health Advocate, and I look forward to working with her and the MHAS under her leadership.
Dr Nathan Gibson
Chief Psychiatrist WA
In response to mounting concern from clinicians and families about the quality of current services, the Chief Psychiatrist instigated a formal review into the treatment and care of people with a serious, enduring mental illness and complex needs.
The Review found that although WA has some of the components of a rehabilitation and recovery service system, there are some very significant gaps, services are fragmented and there is limited access to specialist rehabilitation treatment and care.
Ten recommendations have been made to develop a comprehensive, integrated rehabilitation service system to effectively meet the needs of these individuals and their families.
The Chief Psychiatrist has issued this guideline for the use of audiovisual communication in response to the requirement of the Mental Health Infection Control Directions. These Directions were issued under the Public Health Act 2016.
The Direction enables Audio Visual Communication to be used when conducting MHA 2014 section 48 examinations & MHA section 79 examination assessment criteria in the prescribed specified situations.
It is essential that all medical practitioners and AMHPs read the attached Audio-Visual Communication guideline and the Mental Health Infection Control Directions (No.2) which were effective from 2 September 2020.
Should you have any queries, please discuss with your service Clinical Lead in the first instance.
Chief Psychiatrist’s Guideline: Audiovisual Communication (December 2020)
Mental Health Infection Control Directions (No. 2) (September 2020)
The Chief Psychiatrist was requested by the Minister for Mental Health to undertake a Review into the tragic death of Ms Kate Savage, age 13 years. The scope of this Review also considered any gaps in mental health service provision for this cohort of children.
Kate’s death cannot be rationalised. This was and is an unimaginable loss for Kate’s family.
The Review identified a huge surge in demand for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in recent years. CAMHS development has not kept pace, and this has placed significant pressure on clinical staff and the WA community. It is critical to provide mental health treatment services for young children, as well as for older adolescents – if we do not provide this early life care, we will condemn a generation to worsening mental health throughout their lives.
Seven recommendations have been made, which will facilitate improved care in the short term, and also, importantly, create steps to rebuild CAMHS.
Report: Chief Psychiatrist’s Review into the Treatment of Ms Kate Savage by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
- The Chief Psychiatrist is responsible for setting and overseeing the standards of care provided by mental health services to consumers in WA.
- Ensuring people accessing mental health services feel and are sexually safe is essential to their recovery.
- The Chief Psychiatrist has developed Guidelines for the Sexual Safety of Consumers of Mental Health Services in Western Australia, which provide guidance and practical strategies to improve sexual safety in mental health services.
- The guidelines were launched by the Honourable Alanna Clohesy MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health
- The launch was well-attended by clinical service leads, health and mental health agencies and community sector representatives, and consumer and carer representatives.
Sexual safety refers to being and feeling psychologically and physically safe, including being free of, and feeling safe from behaviour of a sexual nature that is unwanted, or makes another person feel uncomfortable, afraid or unsafe.
The Guidelines are aimed at ensuring that all people- consumers, their families, visitors and staff- are sexually safe in WA mental health services. The guidelines are part of a commitment to providing person-centred, recovery-focused and trauma-informed care, through developing best practice guidelines for mental health services. They were developed through wide consultation with consumers, carers, community members and clinicians.
While they apply to mental health services under the Chief Psychiatrist’s remit, all services in WA who provide therapy or support for individuals with mental illness are strongly encouraged to use the Guidelines to improve sexual safety within their agency.
The Guidelines are available on the Chief Psychiatrist’s website – Chief Psychiatrist’s Sexual Safety Guidelines. Copies are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (please note mental health services under the remit of the Chief Psychiatrist will receive copies in the mail)
Dr Nathan Gibson – Chief Psychiatrist congratulates Professor Helen Milroy on her recognition as the 2021 WA Australian of the Year.
Professor Milroy is a highly respected expert in the field of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and has made significant contributions to the fields of research, education and training in Aboriginal and child mental health with a particular focus on grief and trauma. Her contribution to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been invaluable in furthering the commitment to trauma informed care. Her recognition as WA’s 2021 Australian of the Year is welcome news for the field of mental health in Western Australia.
Professor Milroy was also recently awarded the 2020 Australian Mental Health Prize
The Chief Psychiatrist is committed to reducing the rate of restrictive practices, seclusion and restraint, in Western Australia (WA). In order to promote transparency in the use of restrictive practices in WA, the Chief Psychiatrist has committed to publishing the rates of seclusion and restraint bi-annually for each authorised mental health service.
The rates of seclusion and restraint for the 2019 – 2020 financial year (1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020) is now available.
WA Seclusion and Restraint Data 2019 – 2020: Quarters 1-2, 3-4, and Financial Year
(note – figures updated 03/11/2020)
The Chief Psychiatrist’s Annual Report 2019-20 has been tabled in WA Parliament.
‘Ensuring Safe and High Quality Mental Health Care’
Annual Report of the Chief Psychiatrist of Western Australia
01 July 2019 – 30 June 2020
It highlights the dedicated work of the staff of the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, and very clearly demonstrates the value of the role of the Chief Psychiatrist to the Western Australian community.
The report contains critically important messages for services and system planners.
If you would like to provide feedback about the Chief Psychiatrist’s Annual Report 2020, please follow this link – Chief Psychiatrist’s Annual Report 2020 Feedback
During Mental Health Week 2020, it is important we take time to think about, and respect, inherent dignity and humanity when considering severe and enduring mental illness: the humanity of those individuals who are living with severe mental illness, the humanity of those in the community who give so much to support individuals with mental illness, and the humanity of those clinicians and staff who devote their lives to reducing suffering.