Risk assessment for mental health (A guide)

In this brief article, we will be discussing risk assessment of mental health, managing risk in mental health patients, challenges in risk assessment of mental health, and more information about risk assessment of mental health.

What Is Risk Assessment?

Risk assessment is the practice of managing risk based on the presenting symptoms of the mental health patient who is prone to harming oneself or others.

This kind of assessment has also been used to determine the therapeutic strategies that the patient should be exposed to minimize the symptoms. 

Risk assessment is considered a nursing skill but this kind of assessment has been used by various professions.

This kind of assessment will work on the care of the patient and how he or she will benefit in that care, especially holistic care. 

This holistic approach to risk assessment is when the mental health professional uses physical, psychological, spiritual, emotional, and environmental aspects of the patient.

Mental health professionals believe that this is the best way to make sure that the patient will be mentally well again. 

Risk assessment has a large effect on therapeutic strategies that are beneficial for patients and assisting the patient individually.

This kind of assessment has also been implemented in the workplace when there is an employee who is suspected to have behaviours that can harm another employee or the employee himself or herself.

Assessing Risk Of Patients Causing Harm

Risk assessment of mental health can help mental health professionals to take care of the patient and making sure that the patient doesn’t harm himself or herself.

This kind of assessment can also help mental health patients to care for the patient based on his or her individual needs. 

There is even a guide to good practice followed by mental health professionals to utilize risk assessment of mental health. The following rules and beliefs are implemented by this guide.

  • Risk cannot be stopped, however, it can be thoroughly evaluated and controlled or mitigated.
  • A background of violence or risk to others is important.
  • A risk assessment of mental health should determine key indicators that lead to a pattern or that risk is maximizing.
  • Risk is active and can be impacted by situations that can change over the shortest of time-frames. Therefore, the risk assessment of mental health needs to involve a temporary perspective and regular review.
  • Some risks are particular, with determined potential victims
  • Risk of violence maximizes in the teen years, with onset from late teens to early 20s, then a significant reduction in the late 20s and a slow deduction until the 60s, when there is another marked deduction.
  • Empirical studies cannot be depended upon to determine all key indicators.
  • Specialist risk assessment of mental health may be obligated like sex offending.

There is also the need for open communication and the possible result of the risk assessment of mental health.

  • A protocol and plan should particularly elaborate on the recent circumstance and say what could be done to mitigate the risk in future.
  • Patient-identifying details may be shared with the patient’s explicit consent; or

on a need-to-know basis when the recipient needs the details because they will be included with the patient’s care where staff from more than one agency are included, the patient needs to be told that some sharing of details is likely or if the need to protect and secure the public is greater than the duty and responsibility of confidentiality to the patient.

  • Patients who manifest risk to others may also be susceptible to other kinds of risk such as self-injury, self-neglect, revenge or exploitation by others.
  • A positive risk-taking model weighs up the advantages of treatments and independence.

The NICE implemented guidelines that risk assessment of mental health should not be utilized to determine the risk of the patient to engage in suicide or engaging in further suicides than the first one.

This kind of assessment should also take into account on some influences the patient may be undergoing that can affect the mental health condition such as medications and psychological treatments. 

You can learn more about risk assessment of mental health by buying this book on this website.

Assessing Risk In Mental Health Services

The assessment of risk in mental health should be more concentrated in engaging with the patient and his or her loved ones to assist in healing and mental wellbeing.

This kind of assessment should also include social factors such as social interactions and psychological factors such as current thoughts of the patient.

The use of these factors is to predict some behaviours using the risk assessment of mental health.

Mental health services define risk as to the inclination of engaging negative occurrences, especially self-harm in susceptible patients.

In this case, risk assessment of mental health has been typically used to predict behaviours.

The risk is measured either low, medium or high depending on the patient’s psychological assessment.

Psychological inventories such as checklist have been used in the risk assessment of mental health.

However, this kind of assessment can have low predictive value and may not be effective in treating the patient in the long run.

Mental health professionals have also observed that patients have separate needs despite having the same psychological diagnosis.

In this case, the risk assessment of mental health should be more individualized for each patient.

Screening And Priority In Mental Health Risk Assessments

Some patients may need the risk assessment of mental health if they have been considered eligible from the mental health professional who has assessed them.

This is why screening is part of this assessment to help the mental health professional to know about what needs to be done in the process of treating the patient with a treatment management plan. 

Some patients may be eligible for further risk assessment of mental health if they have been found to have a chronic mental health condition due to their symptoms.

In forensic settings, some offenders may be taken in a high priority for risk assessment since the forensic teams are more inclined to talk about the probability of danger in this offender.

Risk Assessment In The Mental Health Act

The nature of the risk assessment of mental health should be following the provisions of the Mental Health Act where there is a need to apply service without the patient’s permission.

The Mental Health Act has been used to bring quality services to patients with different mental health issues.

The Mental Health Act has been used as a last resort to give the patient the necessary psychological interventions in accordance with their risk assessment of mental health report.

Although you shouldn’t deprive the patient on the discussion of the psychological interventions that he or she will be going through.

The Mental Health Act doesn’t also deprive the patient to be autonomous or getting to decide if he or she needs to back out of the psychological intervention even if the risk assessment of mental health says otherwise.

This is why mental health professionals are expected to have enough knowledge of this Act to promote patient care.

The Mental Health Act has made new provisions such as the presence of community interventions and giving risk assessment of mental health to members of the community and help minimize the danger that may come unexpectedly in the community.

You can learn more about this act by buying this book here.

Policy Framework Of Risk Assessment

Modern risk assessment of mental health should promote safe and high-quality effects in patients.

This is why the HSE is stating that this assessment is considered to secure the patient from inevitable harm that may come to him or her.

The HSE has made sure that the risk assessment of mental health is trying to promote the lack of risks in susceptible patients.

This can be done by implementing standardized procedures that should be present in this kind of assessment and help the patient in unbiased ways.

Risk assessment of mental health should be an integrated method where the mental health professional will be taking note on not only the symptoms that the patient has exhibited but also the background of the patient even though it’s in the past.

In this case, this assessment will be gradually accomplished and remaining in its standardized methods. 

You can learn more about HSE’s health and safety policy by buying this book on this website. 

Assessment Of Patient’s Suicide Risk

Mental health services are aiming to minimize the possibility of bringing bad outcomes in the patient.

This can be maintained by letting mental health professionals have an understanding and empathic attitudes toward the patient who is clearly suffering and in need of support.

Mental health professionals can also discuss the limits of confidentiality to the patient to help him or her understand what needs to be said to the professional.

There is also the need to make a deep understanding of the history of the patient’s suicide risk which can be done by listening to loved ones and the general practitioner’s opinion.

The mental health professional should also take note of the patient’s triggers to engage in suicide.

He or she can ask the patient on what happened days before the suicide incident to assess what could be triggering the risk.

You can also find some possible risks in the patient’s personal, social, and psychological information.

You can make a timeline of the possible causes that happened before the suicide incidents and find out what needs to be done to minimize the suicide risk of the patient.

Quality Of Mental Health Risk Assessment

The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) has studies the quality of risk assessment of mental health in regards to suicide and found that there is an abnormality of low-risk reports. In other words, this kind of assessment wasn’t catching on the patient’s suicide risk.

There are also studies that most mental health services are not using the risk assessment of mental health.

This is because most mental health professionals are confused about how helpful these kinds of assessments are to mental health services.

Some mental health professionals are even saying that the risk assessment of mental health are very time-consuming and might delay the treatment for patients.

Also, most mental health professionals are not equipped in checking for the tables made in assessing the patient.

In this case, there is still a need to improve the risk assessment of mental health in patients.

You can learn about the assessment process in mental health by buying this book on this website.

Challenges Of Risk Assessment

Some patients have even observed that the risk assessment of mental health may not unbiased as it seems.

Some patients have reported that their assessments made by mental health professionals were deprived of what the patient thinks about his or her psychological condition. 

Patients have also complained that some mental health professionals are not taking into account their safety during the risk assessment of mental health.

This is a very severe case since there are ethical standards that need to be met in this kind of assessment. 

Psychological tests in the risk assessment of mental health aren’t still standardized to fit the recent criteria of mental health issues.

Also, this kind of risk assessment may be too time-consuming and impractical when done with a lot of people at the same time as in general mental health services. 

Sometimes, it’s difficult to interpret the results of psychological tests to place them in the risk assessment of mental health and may not be understood by most mental health professionals.

This can indicate that there is a need to standardize psychological tests to make them more inclined to detect the inevitability of risk in a patient.

Risk Assessment In The Workplace

A risk assessment of mental health in the workplace helps in dealing with high-risk individuals and promote the safety of other employees in the workplace.

It is indicated in the law that employers should have this assessment done in the workplace and employees also have the duties to detect these risks in their colleagues and themselves.

The following might be implemented for the risk assessment of mental health in the workplace:

  • walking around the environment and office structure taking note of the dangers you observe
  • deciding and evaluating who is most at risk from these dangers
  • evaluating and assessing the risks from the hazards with decisions being made on whether recent safety policies and steps are appropriate
  • identifying and determining ways of eliminating the dangers
  • preparing and organizing a report on the pieces of evidence
  • That sounds like a very standardized set of steps but you can make a less-formal risk assessment of mental health state of mind.

Risk assessment of mental health is very crucial for employees who have been engaged in mental health concerns that can risk their lives in danger or others’ lives in danger.

Risk Assessment In The Care Programme Approach

Risk assessment of mental health is part of the Care Programme Approach as well and should be close to its goals.

This approach can help in creating psychological interventions that can be used for the patient who is in need of care to not let the risk happen.

These psychological interventions are placed in the care management plan of the patient and these treatments are in line with the patient’s potential to harm oneself or others.

Risk assessment of mental health should be the one providing feedback on what needs to be placed in the patient’s care management plan. 

Risk assessment of mental health follows the process of the Care Programme approach where it is important to keep caring for the patient.

This care plan will be discussed to the patient to know what will be done to him or her and if he or she can add some more treatments for their needs.

You can learn more about the effectiveness of this program by buying this book here.

Limitations Of Risk Assessments

Risk assessments of mental health have been misperceived as psychological assessments that can fully predict a behavioural outcome.

This is not true since the probability of a certain behaviour doesn’t mean it is the ultimate prediction that the behaviour will really happen at that certain time. 

The outcomes of risk assessments of mental health are more based on a group-by-group basis of individuals who also had that kind of risk with a certain psychological disorder.

For instance, a criminal has been analyzed to do his crime again in a one in four chance after a 2-year period. 

Once the criminal was set free, it was found that he had committed the same crime after 3 months.

This kind of situation is not a sign of a mistake in the risk assessment of mental health.

But in the eyes of the public, media, and politicians, this is a grave mistake of the risk assessment of mental health.

It is important that the public understands the fluctuation of mental health and how psychological assessments are merely measuring the probability of a risky behaviour occurring.

Importance Of Ethics In Risk Assessment

Consent and confidentiality are important aspects of a risk assessment in mental health.

Although these kinds of aspects are not exactly respected in environments where the client is forced to say or do something that he or she isn’t fully accepting to do.

This is the nature of forensic situations where the client is supposed to state the evidence or the guilt in the moment of interrogation.

Nevertheless, the risk assessment of mental health must be done with the proper consent like all other psychological assessments.

Mental health professionals are always reminded of the limits of confidentiality in psychological assessments such as the risk assessment of mental health.

If confidentiality was breached, this means that the mental health professional did it within reason that there was a risk involved to another party or the client.

Ethics should always be practised by mental health professionals in their respective fields to value the client and the professional in the course of any psychological activity.

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Conclusion

In this brief article, we have discussed risk assessment of mental health, managing risk in mental health patients, challenges in risk assessment of mental health, and more information about risk assessment of mental health.

If you have any questions about risk assessment of mental health, please let us know and the team will gladly answer your queries.

FAQs: risk assessment mental health

What is the purpose of risk assessment in mental health?

The purpose of risk assessment in mental health is to make decisions relying on the outcome or result of the risk analysis depending on risks that are obligated to treatment and the aims of that treatment.

In this case, the risk assessment process is support to decision making associating with the focus of the management or control of risks.

What is patient risk assessment?

Patient risk assessment is a kind of assessment that evaluates the risk of harm in patients in the workplace for employees and employers.

This kind of assessment can assist in giving the organization guidelines on how to minimize or reduce this risk in an employee and the assessor will give some suggestions and recommendations depending on the findings in the client’s report.

How do you define risk?

I define risk as to the potential for uncontrolled or unmanageable loss of something of value.

Risk can also be defined as the intentional or probable interaction with uncertainty.

The risk is an aspect of action taken in spite of uncertainty within good reason.

What are the biggest risks in mental health nursing?

The biggest risks in mental health nursing are suicide, self-injury, violence, aggression, neglect, sensitivity, safeguarding and hazards.

The risk in patients may be to themselves or to others and may be actual or potential as a goal in the risk assessment of mental health.

What are the 5 steps of risk assessment?

The 5 steps of risk assessment are identifying hazards and dangers that may trigger patients to harm themselves or others, choose based on the assessment findings who may be injured and how, evaluate and assess the risks and take action by making a plan in the treatment of the patient, make a record and report of findings, and review the process of this assessment.

Citations

BMJ Journals. Risk assessment.

GOV.UK. Assessing and managing risk in mental health services.

GOV.UK. Best Practice in Managing Risk.

HQIP. Assessment of clinical risk in mental health service – An NCISH report.

HQIP. The assessment of clinical risk in mental health services.

HSE. Risk Management In Mental Health Services.

Nursing Times. A guide to risk assessment.

RCPsych. Assessing and managing risk of patients causing harm.

Royal College of Nursing. Risk assessment.

The Mental Elf. How should we assess suicide risk in mental health services, or should we stop doing it?.

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