Balancing harms in support of recovery

Michael Sykes, Alison Brabban, Joe Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Harm in mental health has traditionally been viewed as “unambiguous” and measured in terms of suicide, self-harm, self-neglect and violence. In order to develop an organisational patient safety strategy, one Trust engaged with service users, carers and senior clinicians and managers in order to understand how they define harm.

Aim: To explore the meaning of harm in a mental health and learning disabilities setting.

Method: This paper describes the outcome of service improvement work with service users, carers, senior clinicians and managers at one Trust to determine what harm meant to them.

Results: Harm is a concept which is broader than elements currently seen within organisational patient safety metrics and clinical risk assessments.

Conclusions: Taking into account the diverse feedback received about what constitutes harm, a more inclusive definition emerges which could be incorporated into a new framework for risk management, balancing risk of harms across multiple dimensions. This approach has the potential to bring together consideration of the risk and recovery agendas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-144
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number3
Early online date2 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


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