Workplace violence is an increasingly significant topic, particularly as it applies to staff working in mental health settings. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada’s largest mental health hospital, prioritizes workplace safety and consequently has mandated clinical staff safety training. Key components of this training are self-protection and 2–5 person team control skills, which serve as a last resort when other interventions are ineffective (e.g., verbal de-escalation). Training-as-usual (TAU) for the past 20 years has been based on a 3-D approach (description, demonstration, and doing), but without any performance or competency-based assessment. Recent staff reports indicate that the acquisition and retention of these skills is problematic and that there are issues with staff confidence in their ability to address workplace violence.

We will present the results of a pragmatic randomized controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of behavioral skills training (BST) against TAU in terms of the acquisition and 1-month post-training retention of self-protection team control skills as well as the impact on staff confidence.

Results to date support the effectiveness of BST vs. TAU for improving staff performance compared to TAU although neither method led to long-term maintenance.  Suggestions for future research will be discussed.


Room 219, Building 26B