Visiting mental health wards protocol
This protocol is under review, and has not been accepted.
We are currently gathering feedback and editing this protocol, and there may be errors or bad wording. Please only use this protocol with caution, and if other organisations have definitive protocol, use that instead.
Please see #protocols on Slack to discuss this protocol further.
This is the protocol for visiting people in mental health wards.
When to visit people in mental health wards
You may visit mental health wards to do advocacy, take in food, drink, or other supplies, or to provide emotional support for someone inside.
What to do before visiting someone in a mental health ward
- You must find a buddy who can be around the ward, and do a check-in while you’re outside.
- Your buddy must be someone you can trust to keep you safe.
- Your buddy must be someone the person you’re caring for trusts to hear details of their situation.
- Your buddy should be someone who can come into the ward with you. They can then do support in the ward, handle nurses, etc.
Things to take into MH wards
- Do not take anything illegal for yourself or the person.
- If possible, take food and or medicine in original sealed packaging.
- Avoid glass or metal packaging, or anything that could be used to self harm.
- If in jars, take along ziploc bags too, to decant after its been checked it’s sealed.
- Medication will probably be disallowed, unless it's:
- Prescribed, and they do not already have it (especially useful early into a section for difficult-to-procure medicines)
- Vitamins or similar
- anything poisonous in large doses or psychoactive isn't happening. If it's actually regulated, or if herbs has any efficacy or side effects, it's probably not happening.
How to visit someone in a mental health ward
- Nurses will probably know where the person is. You may want to locate them yourself if you have contact with them.
- Schedule the next visit at a time you can keep, or make it clear if it’s not possible.