Professor David Veale, Professor Paul Gilbert and others are calling for a change of culture in institutions that prioritise physical safety over emotional safety. Their article ‘no safety without emotional safety’ has been published in the Lancet.
In the article they ‘explain how trying to control behaviour to increase physical safety in the short term can carry the unintended consequence of reducing emotional safety, which might in turn result in higher levels of stress and hopelessness.’
They ‘use examples from institutions with psychiatric inpatients to describe these processes…arguing that emotional and physical safety cannot be separated, and therefore that the absence of emotional safety compromises basic care either in an acute crisis or in the long term. Staff who fear being criticised, and so feel driven to take autonomy and responsibility away from patients, unwittingly undermine patients’ experience of being empathically understood and supported, adding to patients’ sense of emotional turmoil and lack of safety.’