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Patient perspectives of helpful risk management practices within mental health services. A mixed studies systematic review of primary research

Deering, Kris; Pawson, Chris; Summers, Neil; Williams, Jo


Kris Deering
Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing

Neil Summers

Jo Williams
Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing


© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd What is known about the subject?: Risk in psychiatry involves harm to self or others owing to mental health difficulties, for example iatrogenic effects of treatment, self-harm, suicide and violence. Risk management is a framework to minimize risks, comprising of risk assessment, generation of risk management plans and evaluation of interventions. Literature has extensively explored risk management and presented a critique that its practices can lead to patient harm. However, there is a paucity of literature about what patients identify as helpful risk management practices, despite the potential for such patient views to ameliorate harm and improve mental health care. What this paper adds to existing knowledge: Interpersonal relationships with clinicians, and communication that keeps patients involved and informed of management processes, were found to be central to beneficial risk management practices, while patients having agency and autonomy to influence their participation was also important. Beneficial interpersonal relationships and connectivity in the form of patients’ wider community of support were found to be influential in aiding risk management. Meaningful relationships, and particularly peer support, that maintained personal and collective identities were prevalent in the literature. What are the implications for practice?: Rendering risk management more visible and accessible in practice might cultivate an openness that promotes patient participation. This includes drawing on a wider network of support, for example the patient’s friends and family, as well as having advocacy utilizing peer support. Abstract Introduction Minimizing the harm that patients pose to themselves and others, due to mental health difficulties, is a central component of risk management in psychiatry. However, risk management itself can cause patient harm, but despite this and the potentially informative value of lived experience, little is known about what patients want or expect from risk management. Aim To review research and explore what patients consider beneficial in risk management practice. Method A mixed studies systematic review utilizing PRISMA guidelines, alongside a convergent qualitative design to categorize findings. Results Twelve papers were identified, generating two categories of beneficial practices: interpersonal relationships and communication with clinicians; coupled with patient agency in their own risk management. Discussion Connectivity appears important. Particularly patients feeling involved, and their voices being heard in both the identification of risks and then shaping risk management practice. Moreover, this included involvement of friends, family and peers to widen input and supportive networks beyond clinical relationships. Implications for Practice Risk management needs to be an accessible part of care, which is more inclusive of patient views and needs. The latter might also be aided by drawing on the patient's wider community in order to provide more effective support and risk management.


Deering, K., Pawson, C., Summers, N., & Williams, J. (2019). Patient perspectives of helpful risk management practices within mental health services. A mixed studies systematic review of primary research. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 26(5-6), 185-197.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Apr 29, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 19, 2019
Publication Date Jun 1, 2019
Journal Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Print ISSN 1365-2850
Electronic ISSN 1365-2850
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 5-6
Pages 185-197
Public URL
Publisher URL