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Office of Mental Health

A Word from Commissioner Sullivan

As mental health professionals, we know that coercive interventions such as restraint and seclusion are non-therapeutic, and carry the risk of serious injury. We also know that such interventions can almost always be prevented. Together we must take steps to educate ourselves and our staff to ensure that we consistently treat all individuals with dignity; deliver respectful, trauma-informed care; and focus on prevention rather than reaction.

We are very excited to share this new web page, which offers a comprehensive set of evidence-based tools and resources, to help facilities significantly reduce the use of restraint and seclusion by changing their organizational culture. Many of the materials were created during OMH’s four-year (2007-2011) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)-funded Positive Alternatives to Restraint and Seclusion (PARS) project and follow-up Promoting Positive Environments Committee work. During the course of the grant, we shared progress and lessons learned, heard from nationally-recognized experts, and listened to powerful stories from people who have experienced restraint and seclusion.

Special thanks for their dedication to reducing restraint and seclusion in all settings is given to Jayne Van Bramer, David Robertson, David Wenger, and all of OMH’s partners in our efforts over the past few years whose hard work is evident in the tools and resources provided here.

True culture change involves some of the most challenging and rewarding work you will ever undertake. We know this from personal experience at our state-operated facilities and by working with the PARS Grant sites. We also know that it’s the right thing to do, and that it’s well worth the effort.

We applaud your endeavors and are always available to encourage, assist and support you. We can do it, together.

Ann Marie T. Sullivan, M.D.