The restrictive nature of low secure mental health settings and the issues associated with risk management and safe practice raise numerous challenges which need to be overcome for individuals to engage in community-based programmes. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Two community-based schemes are described. The first uses the natural environment as a medium in which to deliver opportunities to develop vocational skills. The second provides exercise-based activity to promote healthier living. This paper aims to explore the acceptability, feasibility and sustainability of the projects along with the views and achievements of participants.
Both schemes were well-attended with positive views from participants and others. Planned positive risk taking enabled individuals to participate in a safe and structured way. Initial evaluation of the projects suggest that they were viewed as acceptable by the service and valued by participants. Participation led to some individuals engaging in new opportunities for vocational and leisure activities.
Fostering access to community-based occupational opportunities for those in low secure mental health services can be achieved safely and with numerous apparent benefits. Research is now needed to determine further the nature and extent of the gains made through such activity.
This is the first known study of its kind utilising inter-agency collaboration to address the needs of those residing in a low secure mental health facility. Within the forensic mental health population, the standards of care recommend a comprehensive, recovery-focused approach aimed at building resilience and preventing relapse, with the need for thorough intervention for physical health needs. This study supports these recommendations by providing opportunities for planned positive risk taking, opportunities for social inclusion, skills development, increased access to physical exercise to address overall wellbeing.
Roberts, C., Davies, J. and Maggs, R.G. (2015), "Structured community activity for forensic mental health – a feasibility study", The Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 180-191. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-12-2014-0049Download as .RIS
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