Feeling safe promotes recovery. In fact, feelings of safety are seen by some to be a prerequisite for effective delivery of mental health services. But what exactly is a safe environment?
At Rose Hill Center we have a safety committee comprised of individuals from many departments, including clinical, administrative, human resources and facilities management. With a commitment to continuous improvement, the goal of the Rose Hill Safety Committee is to provide ongoing oversight and evaluation of matters of environmental safety, safety interventions, and to seek and find proactive actions to address safety concerns. The Committee’s primary goal is to promote a safe campus environment for residents and staff, providing interventions and education as needed.
Education is rigorous and ongoing for Rose Hill staff, and includes courses such as Infection Control, Hazardous Chemicals, Cleaning and Disinfecting, Fire Safety, and Environmental Emergencies. These are all very important for a safe treatment environment. Rose Hill employees also receive ongoing training in Confidentiality, Cultural Competence, Trauma Informed Care, Person-Centered Planning, and Recipient’s Rights. These softer skills may not immediately be associated with safety but are crucial for creating feelings of safety for our residents.
A 2019 study highlighted how support and communication with residents can enhance personal feelings of safety in a mental health treatment facility (Pelto-Piri et al.) This same study concluded the following regarding environments that feel safe for individuals with mental illness. 1. Predictable and supportive services are necessary, 2. Communication and the ability to build feelings of responsibility enhances safety, and 3. Powerlessness and unpleasant encounters undermine safety.
At Rose Hill Center these components of a safe environment are built into our daily programming and organizational culture. Moreover, they are reinforced through continuous training and commitment. The Residential Rehabilitation Program includes person-centered clinical care and structured, meaningful daily activities that include social and recreational endeavors along with therapeutic services. These activities are designed to help residents build self-reliance and feel empowered to take on new responsibilities in healthy and productive ways, ultimately returning to the community where they can go on to lead rewarding lives.
Pelto-Piri, V., Wallsten, T., Hylén, U. et al. Feeling safe or unsafe in psychiatric inpatient care, a hospital-based qualitative interview study with inpatients in Sweden. Int J Mental Health Syst 13, 23 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13033-019-0282-y