Establishing Best Practices for Risk Management for mental Health Institutions: Integrating the Perspective of Mental Health Service Providers as an Essential Component of Risk Management Culture, Chioma Nneka Venessa Iheaturu

Mental illness is one of the most prevalent health issues in the United States. It is estimated that one out five adults lives with mental illness. The mental health workforce in the United States can  barely keep up with the growing need for services. Today, the focus to combat mental health illnesses is to use various treatment options to identify mental disorders or substance abuse disorders. Although there is now more awareness of the need for better mental health hygiene, it is becoming increasingly difficult for some people to access mental health services because of healthcare barriers. Many mental health professionals also suffer from burnouts and other risks that could affect how they practice and work with patients or clients. Some professionals can barely keep up with the growing number of people who suffer from mental illnesses. The continuous growth of people with mental illnesses has outnumbered mental health professionals who can help with diagnoses and treatments. The current objective of this research is to help identify risks that mental health professionals face at the workplace and how risks are analyzed, resolved, or mitigated. This research also evaluates the need to implement or improve the workplace’s risk management culture to help reduce clinical risks identified by mental health professionals in their workplace. Twelve qualitative, in-depth, individual expert interviews were conducted with Psychiatrists, psychologists, Social Workers, Nurse Practitioners, and Psychiatric Nurses. Findings indicated that several factors and dynamics are needed to ensure that risk management strategies, risk culture, an improvement on identifying risk and safety, and the valued input of mental health workers are incorporated into mental health services. These Factors and dynamics identified include: (I) The need for constant job training about risks management and risk culture ; (II) The need for increased awareness for employee safety (III) How to identify risks and safety issues in the workplace; (IV) How care providers can utilizing care practices that improve patients care; (V) Types of mental facilities; (VI) Examining if mental healthcare professionals have autonomy in the services they provide and (VII) the need for experienced risk managers in mental health facilities.

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