Understanding how personhood impacts consumers’ feelings of safety in acute mental health units: a qualitative study
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Being admitted to an acute mental health unit can lead to feelings of shame, and loss of personhood for some consumers. Promoting safety for consumers is a function of acute mental health units. This paper explores how consumers’ personhood influences their perception and experience of safety in acute mental health units. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 participants who had previously been admitted to an acute mental health unit. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Participants perceived safety as being intrinsically linked to their personhood. When participants’ innate worth was affirmed in their interactions with staff, participants felt safe. Three subthemes were identified: ‘Seen as an equal’, ‘Being respected’, and ‘Able to make choices’. These findings can be used to inform nursing practices that enhance consumers’ sense of personhood and, in so doing, promote consumers’ safety and recovery in acute mental health units.
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University of Wollongong