Security Screening Is A New Standard In Mental Health

The title of this article at the first look may confuse you. You may wonder whether this article is all about medical treatments that ensure better mental health or the causes that leads to deteriorated health conditions of the mind. Well, to find out you will need to know what security has to do with the mental health of a person.

Security Screening Is A New Standard In Mental Health

It is said that, ‘Protecting safety equals to preserving peace’ and this is ideally the new standard in mental health security screening. Violence in mental health facilities is a common issue and its is a hot topic for debate as to who is to be blamed for such workplace violence incidents in mental health facilities and who is responsible to prevent these from happening.

However, it needs adequate screening for contraband. This is due to the fact that nobody will deny or contest that the type of work done by the mental healthcare employeesis really demanding. In spite of this proven fact, there are lots of people outside this specific field who still believe that it is only hard emotionally and mentally.

A few statistics

What many people do not realize is the fact that such kind of job is very demanding physically as well. Why? This is because there is a very high risk of physical injuries. It is found through research that:

  • More than 75% of all workplace assaults occur in the healthcare facilities and industry
  • Workplace violence is even more predominant in the mental health facilities
  • About one in five patients admitted to an acute psychiatric unit is more inclined to commit an act of violence.

However, assaults do not simply involve bare hands but also involve contraband such as:

  • Lighters
  • Knives
  • Razor blades and even

All these are brought into the mental healthcare facilities from outside by either the patients themselves or those who come to visit them. Therefore, the standard of security screenings needs to be improved for ensuring peace within the facility and eradication of such violent incidents.

Risks to employees and patients

It is not just the employees at the mental healthcare facilities who are at risks of physical but the patients too can get injured significantly during a violence within the mental health facilities.

Moreover, being ill mentally, the rationale thinking ability of the patients are naturally reduced. It is a general propensity among them to possess the same object as another patient that they see, whether it is a toy or a weapon.

  • Therefore, if one patient obtains or brings in a weapon or any other restricted item in the facility, it is highly possible that another patient will also want the same creating a multiplier effect.
  • Patients may also want to possess a weapon of their own thinking that their lives are at risk and they need to protect themselves from it and from others.

According to Modern Healthcare research, the rate of violence within healthcare facilities is increasing. This is a growing problem and the mental health facilities has to face a considerably tough burden.

Another significant problem faced by the mental health care facilities is the lack of adequate psychiatric beds. It is for this reason most of the behavioural health patients have to be boarded in acute care facilities such as the emergency departments for a long, long periods of time. This results in different other problems such as:

  • Increase in elopement attempt rates
  • Increase in workplace violence incidents
  • Increase in the need for restraints and seclusion of these patients.

In addition to that, the rise in drug addictions among the people has also increased the burden of the healthcare facilities. Several such addicts enter such a facility to have dual diagnoses: addiction and mental illness, thereby increasing the workload of the employees of such facilities as well apart from the security issue.

Movement in model of care

All over the world, there is a movement noticed from the traditional model of care that was hospital based toward community-based care. This is also helping the mental healthcare to advance which has resulted in the overcrowding in the community-based facilities.

  • As a result, some of the patients are sent back to the hospitals which in turn experiences an influx and suffers from acutely unwell and even violent patients.
  • Lack of space also means early discharge of the patients from the facilities before they are cured completely.
  • In addition to that, there are several acute care facilities that lack the required resources for providing the necessary psychiatric care to the patients who need it.

With all these issues doing rounds, the security issue in the medical care facilities is adding fuel to the fire, whether it is inpatient, outpatient and residential care facility. All seems to be struggling to find the most effective way to ensure that the restricted items that incite violence within the facility are not introduced.

The security challenges

There are lots of researches and studies conducted on this but mostly these studies evolve around quantifying the issue of violence in the healthcare centres rather than studying n how this issue can be resolved.

Meeting the security challenges in the mental health facilities involves:

  • Enhancing the physical environment
  • Improving the culture of security
  • Find out the reasons for the current security methods to fail and
  • Focus on anything meaningful that can be done to restore peace and order within the facility.

Since each facility is unique in their own right, it is required to use different approaches to ensure foolproof security. Choosing the right security option is like choosing the right debt relief option form A simple pat-down is not enough. It will be more effective if the hospital security combines with local police, relying more on the response of local law enforcement and others should be included apart from using the primary screening tools and passive security methods like cameras.

Lastly, creating a calming therapeutic environment rather than a prison-like security options is the need for such patients whose psychological and emotional states are sensitive.