Enhancing psychological safety in mental health services
Hunt, D F
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Hunt, D.F., Bailey, J., Lennox, B.R., Crofts, M. & Vincent, C. Enhancing psychological safety in mental health services. Int J Ment Health Syst 15, 33 (2021)
Background Psychological safety—speaking up about ideas and concerns, free from interpersonal risk—are essential to the high-risk environment, such as healthcare settings. Psychologically safe working is particularly important in mental health where recovery-oriented approaches rely on collaborative efforts of interprofessional teams to make complex decisions. Much research focuses on antecedents and outcomes associated with psychological safety, but little focus on the practical steps for how to increase psychological safety across and at different levels of a healthcare organisation. Aims We explore how a mental health organisation creates an organisation-wide plan for building the foundations of mental health and how to enhance psychological safety. Methods This review encompasses strategies across psychological safety and organisational culture change to increase psychological safety at an individual, team and organisational level. Summary We set out a comprehensive overview of the types of strategies and interventions for increasing the ethos of psychological safety and setting the foundations for delivering an organisation-wide programme on this topic. We also provide a list of key targeted areas in mental health that would maximally benefit from increasing psychological safety—both in clinical and non-clinical settings. Conclusions Psychological safety is a crucial determinant of safe and effective patient care in mental health services. This paper provides the key steps and considerations, creating a large-scale programme in psychological safety with a focus on mental health and drawing from the current literature, providing concrete steps for how our current understanding of psychological safety into practice.
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