Assessing and managing risk in mental health services

Guidance for mental health practitioners on managing the risk of harm to self and others.



Organisations, care teams and individual practitioners should benchmark their current practice against the principles in this guidance and consider ways of applying them in daily practice. They should also examine the list of tools in the guidance and ask how they can improve their practice by including one or more of them in their risk assessment and management processes.

The guidance balances care needs against risk needs and emphasises:

  • positive risk management
  • collaboration with the service user and others involved in care
  • the importance of recognising and building on the service user’s strengths
  • the organisation’s role in risk management alongside the individual practitioner’s
Published 31 March 2009