Study shows the value in mental health funding

A recent study has revealed that even low amounts of investment can have a huge pay-off for patients and staff in the mental healthcare sector

"The Safewards cluster randomised controlled trial", led by Professor of Psychiatric Nursing for King's College London, Len Bowers, is the recent addition to an ongoing, 20 year study. These newest findings showed that by initiating 10 low-cost methods, conflict and containment rates dropped and there were less unpleasant altercations overall.

This created more pleasant environments for both staff and patients and a higher rate of positive interactions between the two parties.

The initiative focussed on improving staff relations with patients and featured a variety of methods. These included regular patient meetings to uphold inter-patient support, investment in a box of distracting implements (such as stress toys or light displays) for agitated patients and a new de-escalation model constructed by the most skilled staff and passed to others.

By properly implementing these small but effective measures, many wards could improve the quality of service they provide to patients and improve the working conditions of staff. 

In Australia, investment in mental health was brought into focus as insurance company AIA renewed its partnership with mental health foundation SuperFriend for another five years, according to a July 14 Professional Planner article. AIA has provided funding for SuperFriend for increases in targeted intervention and support for people suffering from mental health in their working lives.  

AIA has also been working on the "Best Practice Guidelines for the Management of Psychological Claims", with the intention of ensuring the proper treatment of at-risk or suffering workers in the life insurance industry.

While these cases may not be as severe as those shown in the study, the investment could have a significant impact on improving overall mental health in Australia.