WA Seclusion and Restraint Data: Quarters 1&2 2019-2020

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 first two quarters of the 2019-20 financial year is now available and can be found here:  WA Seclusion and Restraint Data.

Chief Psychiatrist’s Activities and Coronavirus (COVID-19)


The Chief Psychiatrist has taken the following actions in the best interests of the Western Australian community in keeping with recommended procedures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Clinical Helpdesk

  • The Clinical Helpdesk remains open and accessible to all clinicians during business hours Monday to Friday.

Chief Psychiatrist’s Clinical and Statutory Monitoring

  • All Chief Psychiatrist’s face-to-face clinical monitoring and reviews will be temporarily suspended.
  • The Chief Psychiatrist will continue to monitor the standards of mental health services and will work with services to identify effective interim alternate monitoring processes.
  • Statutory mandatory reporting processes under the Mental Health Act 2014 remain in place.

Chief Psychiatrist’s Training

  • Face-to-face training events provided by the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist have been temporarily suspended. 
  • Alternate modes of delivering training are being investigated.
  • Clinicians enrolled in training will be notified when it has been rescheduled to an alternative date and time.
  • Please contact the office for further information if necessary.

If you require any further information about the above initiatives please contact the OCP on (08) 6553 0000.

For further information, please consult the WA Department of Health website, or call the COVID-19 Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

Out and About with the Chief Psychiatrist – Pilbara

Recently the Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Nathan Gibson and Ms Cate Wray, Consultant, Statutory Authorisations and Approvals  visited the Pilbara Region. Dr Gibson and Ms Wray were accompanied by Dr Roland Main, Director of Psychiatry, WA Country Health Service, and Mr Liam Avery, A/Regional Manager Mental Health.

The purpose of the visit was to discuss the role of the Chief Psychiatrist, the activities being conducted within the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, and to provide the opportunity for staff to raise any issues related to standards of care.

The visit to South Hedland and Karratha Mental Health Services was extremely valuable in terms of seeing and hearing from clinicians and staff what is happening and the challenges of working in regional services.  The Chief Psychiatrist also met with Aboriginal Elders and local Non-Government Organisations in South Hedland, Child Adolescent Mental Health Services and Aboriginal Health Services in Roebourne.

Further visits to regional areas are being planned.

Resource and training opportunity for clinicians engaging with carers

The Chief Psychiatrist wishes to share information about an important resource and training opportunity for engaging with the family and friends (carers) of people experiencing mental health issues. The “Practical Guide for Working with Carers of People with a Mental Illness (the Practical Guide), is a nationwide initiative developed to increase engagement with the supportive family members and friends of a person experiencing mental health issues.

The Practical Guide has been developed by HelpingMinds and national partners, utilising a co-design approach with people with lived experience of mental health issues, either as consumers or carers, and clinicians. Evidence indicates, when clinical staff are able to engage with the service user’s carers, the therapeutic outcomes for patients and their family/carers will greatly improve.

HelpingMinds has been commissioned to provide Western Australian mental health services with the training and support required to embed the principles of the Practical Guide into service delivery. Consequently, this training assists services in meeting Standard 7: Carers, of the National Mental Health Standards.

The requirement from mental health services will be to:

  • Allocate management to work through the Practical Guide Checklist with HelpingMinds;
  • Enable the attendance of frontline staff at four training modules, each approximately 30 minutes (2 hours in total);
  • Engage in conversations with carers that are critical to ensuring they have the full picture of what is occurring for their friend/family member.

The four (4) training modules include:

  • Module 1: Identifying carers
  • Module 2: Confidentiality and information sharing
  • Module 3: Acknowledging carers within your service
  • Module 4: Services for carers

The modules cover the 6 Partnership Standards in the Practical Guide:

  • Partnership Standard 1: Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact, or as soon as possible thereafter.
  • Partnership Standard 2: Staff are carer aware and trained in carer engagement strategies.
  • Partnership Standard 3: Policy and practice protocols regarding confidentiality and sharing of information are in place.
  • Partnership Standard 4: Defined staff positions are allocated for carers in all service settings.
  • Partnership Standard 5: A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with relevant range of information across the care settings.
  • Partnership Standard 6: A range of carer support services is available.

Click here to access a brochure and booking form for the Practical Guide training.

If you have any questions, please contact Taryn Houghton, Head of Community Engagement at HelpingMinds, at taryn.houghton@helpingminds.org.au or 08 9427 7100.

From Death We Learn 2018

The WA Department of Health’s Patient Safety Surveillance Unit has just released From Death We Learn 2018. This annual publication seeks to promote education and improve awareness across the WA health system by highlighting key lessons learned from deaths resulting in coronial inquests. The 2019 edition outlines the health related coronial inquests that were reported in the 2018 calendar year. Many of these cases relate to mental health, and it is valuable for clinicians to consider these.

As per previous editions, From Death We Learn 2018 includes key messages and discussion points to encourage healthcare providers and organisations to reflect upon these in relation to their clinical practice and/or practice site. Where coronial recommendations have been made, these are outlined in the report along with a summary of the actions taken by the WA health system in response to these recommendations.

The report is accessible online, along with previous editions, on the Safety and Quality website.

WA Seclusion and Restraint Data 2018-2019

The Chief Psychiatrist is committed to reducing the rate of restrictive practices, seclusion and restraint, in Western Australia (WA).  Nationally, WA has been a leader in reducing the rates of restrictive practices.  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 2018-2019 financial year can be found here:  WA Seclusion and Restraint Data 2018-2019

Chief Psychiatrist’s Sexual Safety Guidelines: Draft for consultation

The Office of the Chief Psychiatrist has been developing guidelines for the sexual safety of consumers of mental health services, and our reference group has produced a draft for wider consultation.

The purpose of the Chief Psychiatrist’s guidelines on the sexual safety of mental health consumers in Western Australia is to provide practical strategies and advice on how mental health services can establish a service culture and environment that actively promotes sexual safety and responds appropriately to incidents that compromise this safety.

In order to ensure that the consultation is as comprehensive as possible we would like to invite you to provide input on the document.

Chief Psychiatrist’s Guidelines for the Sexual Safety of Consumers of Mental Health Services in Western Australia

Feedback is due by Friday 20 March 2020 and can be provided via the feedback form below, or by emailing reception@ocp.wa.gov.au

FEEDBACK FORM – Chief Psychiatrist’s Guidelines for the Sexual Safety of Consumers of Mental Health Services in Western Australia (MS Word document download)

All feedback will be respectfully considered and where appropriate changes will be made. Due to the logistics of producing such a large document some feedback may have to be considered for the next version.

It is anticipated that this document will be beneficial and valuable to consumers and carers in mental health services and also to the providers of the mental health service.

If reading the document raises any issues for you or causes distress the following numbers may be of assistance:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Beyondblue 1300 224 636
  • SARC (Sexual Assault Resource Centre) 08 6458 1828

Mental Health Drug Bulletin: Clozapine induced Gastrointestinal Hypomotility

The latest edition of the Mental Health Drug Bulletin has been published and focuses on clozapine-induced gastrointestinal hypomobility. Clozapine is considered the ‘gold standard’ medication for the treatment of schizophrenia, with strong evidence of improved mental health outcomes, quality of life and life expectancy. 

Close monitoring is required for the safe use of clozapine. The current edition focuses on one adverse effect, constipation. Constipation can be serious and if it should occur, timely treatment is essential. The Mental Health Drug Bulletin outlines protocols for monitoring the development of this adverse effect and treating it should it occur.

Mental Health Drug Bulletin 2019 Vol 26 No 3: Clozapine induced Gastrointestinal Hypomotility

If you would like to follow the Mental Health Drug Bulletin, visit the website of the Western Australian Therapeutics Advisory Group (WATAG).

Draft Discussion Paper – People with Serious Mental Illness and Challenging Behaviours


The Chief Psychiatrist has been increasingly concerned about the standard of care being provided to people with serious, enduring mental illness and challenging behaviours. Both clinicians and families have expressed concerns about the current service system. They have identified gaps, fragmented services or parts of the service system that are not well structured to meet the needs of these individuals and their families.

As a consequence, the Chief Psychiatrist instigated a formal targeted review into the treatment and care of people who have serious mental illness with complex needs and challenging behaviour. He tasked the Research and Strategy team at the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist to undertake this review in partnership with key stakeholders, to develop options to enhance future clinical services for this cohort.

The Research and Strategy team have developed a discussion paper based on their investigations, and through small group and individual meetings with key mental health carer community managed organisations, peak consumer bodies and clinicians from a broad range of mental health services. This review is intended to be a catalyst for change.

Please consider and comment on the Draft Discussion Paper – People with Serious Mental Illness and Challenging Behaviours.

Written comments can be submitted via email by COB Friday 15 November 2019 to: Reception@ocp.wa.gov.au