How restrictive practices impact families, friends and carers of people with mental illness

Ms Maxine Griffiths Am1
1Mental Health Carers Tas, Newtown, Australia

Restrictive practices have a damaging impact on families, friends and carers of people living with mental illness. Not only do families need to make sense of their responses to the changes they see in their loved one due to mental illness but when faced with care and treatment practices that demean and frighten their loved one, families themselves are at greater risk of decline in their own mental health. Families explain their fear and bewilderment when their loved one needs to enter a mental health facility and how their lived experience of restrictive practices toward their loved one creates further relationship difficulties between families, staff and the person undergoing treatment. Some families describe their experiences as more traumatising than trying to manage their loved ones illness by themselves.
it is time to reduce and eliminate restrictive practices in caring for people living with mental illness. Families, friends and carers need access to knowledge, information and education on alternative treatment practices so they too may provide quality carer and suppot where and when thier loved one is in need. Clinicians and other mental health staff and servcie providers need to include families as they work toward reducing and eliminating restrictive practices in mental illness treatments.


Maxine is currently CEO of Mental Health Carers Tasmania. MHCTas is a State Government funded not for profit organisation funded provide advocacy and carer representation for families, friends and carers of people with a mental illness in Tas. Maxine has been CEO of Lifeline Tas, COTA Tas and Volunteering Tasmania. She was awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2013 for her consumer advocacy work within the disability sector.


TERP focuses on identifying, avoiding and reducing harm across all environments in which the care of people with mental ill health is provided. TERP inforces Australia’s commitment to reduce the use of, and eliminate restrictive practices as a priority for action. Each jurisdiction, in conjunction with the Safety and Quality Partnership Standing Committee and the Commonwealth Government, works towards this vision by holding a series of forums providing an opportunity to learn and grow from local and national initiatives to eliminate restrictive practices and create a dialogue for future care.

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