Women’s experiences of restrictive interventions within inpatient mental health services: A qualitative investigation

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Restrictive interventions, such as physical restraint, seclusion and rapid tranquilisation, can have negative psychological effects on service users; however, there has been little investigation regarding their effects on women. The aim of this paper was to explore women’s experiences of restrictive interventions within UK inpatient mental health services. Twenty women accessing inpatient mental health services participated in semi-structured interviews. Using thematic analysis, three primary themes were reported from women’s experiences: 1) Powerlessness, 2) Dehumanisation, and 3) Relationships and communication. Clinical recommendations included ensuring gender-awareness and trauma-informed care training is mandatory for all mental health staff, for restrictive interventions training to include awareness of gender differences, for policies to be reviewed with regards to women being invasively searched and ensuring sanitary products are safely available for women within seclusion. Directions for future research include investigating the experiences of restrictive interventions for women from minority ethnic groups and exploring important moderators and mediators in the relationship between restrictive interventions and retraumatisation for women.
Keywords: women, restrictive interventions, mental health, inpatient mental health, qualitative

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(2022)31, 379–389
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Issue number2
Early online date24 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


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