What Is a Safety Control in Mental Health Terms?

When it comes to working with a therapist or psychiatrist, how can we make sure the patient is receiving the best level of care possible? One way is through a safety contract. In this post, we’ll look at what safety contracts are and explore their common elements and benefits. We will also discuss how they can be effectively used. With safety contracts, you can ensure both patient and therapist are held to a certain standard. Read on to learn more about this incredibly useful and important tool.

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Definition of a Safety Contract

A safety contract is a verbal or written agreement between a therapist and an individual suffering from a mental health disorder that outlines the steps they will both take to reduce risk and maintain safety. Safety contracts are essential in many forms of therapy and can help to build trust between the therapist and the patient. The safety contract can help make the patient more comfortable with sharing their feelings and thoughts with their therapist. 

The aim of the safety contract is to reduce the risk of self-harm or suicide. It will outline specific steps the individual can take in times of crisis. It also ensures that the therapist is made aware of any changes in the individual’s mental state or coping strategies. This contract is an integral part of the therapeutic relationship and can provide both the patient and their therapist with a sense of safety, trust, and support.

A safety contract is an individualized agreement that is tailored to suit the needs of each patient and their clinical situation. It should include strategies to reduce the risk of harm, such as refusing to use drugs or alcohol, avoiding dangerous situations, and seeking help as soon as possible. It is also important to include steps to maintain mental health and emotional stability, such as engaging in therapeutic activities and listening to music. 

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Common Elements of Safety Contracts

Safety contracts are an essential tool that can be employed by mental health professionals. They promote safety, protect confidentiality, and foster mutual trust and understanding between the provider and patient. Common elements of safety contracts include:

  • Establishing agreed-upon boundaries of communication and treatments/services
  • Clearly articulating the roles and responsibilities of both the provider and patient
  • Identifying individuals to be contacted in the event of a crisis
  • Specifying access to a means of communication (phone, email, etc.)
  • Deciding on a plan of action if a safety contract is violated

A safety contract demonstrates an understanding between the provider and patient that both parties take patient safety seriously and are committed to providing an atmosphere of appropriate care and respect.

They can also provide an effective way for individuals to take responsibility for their own safety and well-being. The agreement on safety behaviors is an important component of such contracts. It outlines the expectations that all parties associated with the contract agree to hold each other and themselves accountable to ensure a safe and secure environment.

Safety contracts also make clear the consequences if either party failes to abide by the safety behaviors outlined in the agreement. The steps for communication in case of a disagreement or any other issue arising related to the safety agreement are laid out. Overall, they help build mutual trust and understanding between all parties while enabling them to communicate effectively and openly, leading to a safer experience.

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The Benefits of Having a Safety Contract

Safety contracts are an invaluable tool in the mental health field. They provide individuals with a sense of control and safety in a world that can often feel unsafe or overwhelming. These contractual agreements define boundaries, expectations, and goals while providing safe and supportive guidelines that allow people to express their feelings and desires in a healthy way. This process can be especially helpful for those who may be experiencing anxiety, depression, or trauma-related disorders, as it creates a sense of stability and structure that can be crucial for their recovery. 

These contracts can help individuals take action toward positive change in their life and reinforce self-care techniques. For example, a safety contract may include tasks such as drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and refraining from self-injurious behavior. It provides a way for individuals to make positive decisions and combat challenging situations in a safe and supportive environment. 

They can also serve as a form of accountability, reminding individuals of the commitments they have made and helping to ensure that they stick to their goals. For those who are dealing with challenges such as addiction or destructive patterns of behavior, this accountability aspect allows them to stay focused and motivated on their recovery journey. With proper guidance and support, safety contracts can be an effective tool in any mental health treatment plan and help to create a safe and healthy environment for personal growth and recovery.

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As an overall tool, safety contracts for mental health can be an incredibly valuable tool for helping those struggling with mental illness. By creating an actionable agreement between the patient and the clinician, safety contracts can help provide a clear plan of how to safely manage mental illness and decrease stress and anxiety. No matter the severity of the mental health challenges you face, the right safety contract can help bring the peace of mind and feeling of safety that comes with knowing there is a plan in place.

Interested in getting started with therapy and creating a safety contract? Call 844-867-8444 to for a free mental health consultation and get matched with one of our expert therapists.

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