Our mission is to provide high-quality compassionate behavioral healthcare to individuals by utilizing evidenced-based practices, and rendering exclusive therapeutic residential treatment services in a safe, caring environment leading to independence, and opportunities to grow and develop personal connections in a natural setting. This mission statement has not changed since our inception in 2007. So you can imagine my surprise to learn that one part of our program, the use of restraint, is not an evidence-based practice. While Crisis Prevention Institute(CPI) has a state approved program for the use of restraint, there is no evidence that it helps lead our consumers to achieve their goals.
Members of our team recently took part in NC Division of Mental Health’s conference on Six Core Strategies to Reduce Restraint and Seclusion. All North Carolina Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities are expected to take part in this initiative which NC has named Every Day Matters. At first, admittedly I felt this was just another hoop we would have to jump through as a state requirement. However, as the presentations went on the intent really began to resonate with me. It reminded me of the reason I became involved, not only in mental health but with children. That reason was to help children with mental illness. I began to ask the question “How does restraining a child help them?” My answer is it does not. It helps the staff to control the situation. Being restrained does not translate into a skill that will help a child outside of our program. Having answered this question, I was still a bit skeptical. I have worked with this population for over 10 years. I thought we couldn’t possibly have a program with little to no restraints with our kids. Then we were presented with the data. Not only have other programs across the United States that are comparable to ours ran programs with little to no restraints, they have done so successfully. My next question was, if they can do it why can’t we? So I challenge you all to join us as we adopt the Every Day Matters movement to reduce the use of restraints. We will introduce new strategies and tools to help us along this journey. The biggest tool our staff and consumers can utilize is an open mind as we begin this important improvement to our program and I look forward to the challenge!