This webpage summarises a briefing paper developed by ImROC which examines the current approaches to risk assessment and management in mental health services, and calls for them to be changed so they are more supportive of individual recovery.
The paper highlights the tension between supporting autonomy and choice and managing risk, which is an inherent component of shared decision making and self-management support. It outlines ways of moving towards recovery-orientated risk assessment and safety planning, based on the concept of shared decision making and the joint construction of personal safety plans.
The summary highlights the service users’ perspective that there is a lack of attention to their views and experience of risk and risk management, current risk management practice does not focus enough on working with the person to identify what they need and value, and that mental health practitioners and services can be risk-avoidant and this can impede rather than support recovery. It compares this to health professionals’ perspective where managing risk is a central concern in their day-to-day lives, they can fear the consequences of taking risks because of the perceived legal and professional repercussions and there is a preoccupation with risk and a consequent tendency towards risk-averse practice.
It sets out a series of recommendations to support a person-centred, ‘safety planning’ approach to assessing and managing risk.