Designing better mental healthcare facilities


A service-user’s view on improving care spaces

Service-users’ lived experience in mental healthcare facilities can provide valuable insights. At June’s DiMH conference, Nick Smith, who spent a lengthy period as an inpatient at Bradford’s Lynfield Mount Hospital, reflected on some of his most challenging times.

Recognising best practice and innovation

The first evening of June’s Design in Mental Health 2022 event in Coventry saw 12 Design in Mental Health 2022 Awards presented – recognising excellence in categories ranging from Outside Space of the Year and Concept Product Innovation to Service-User Engagement and Estates and Facilities Team of the Year.

Overcoming the barriers to equal access for all

Giving a first day keynote presentation at June’s Design in Mental Health 2022 conference, Sarah Hughes, CEO of the Centre for Mental Health, discussed what she argued were some of the key priorities for designing a mental health system that offered equality of access to all, and some of the major barriers that need overcoming to achieve this.

Boosting staff safety and security at St George’s

Allan Aikman, Product (Design) manager at Pinpoint, a specialist provider of staff personal alarm systems, describes how the company provided ‘a 100 per cent reliable, easy-to-use’ such system for St George’s Hospital, the main treatment centre for acute mental health issues in South Staffordshire.

Balancing aesthetics with safety and security

Jason Brown, director of Design and Development at Knightsbridge Furniture, takes a look at some of the key considerations – including the challenge of balancing appealing aesthetics and a therapeutic, non-institutional feel with safety and security – when designing and manufacturing furniture for mental healthcare settings.

New multi-level facility to replace ‘dormitory'

Robin Graham, an associate director at Gilling Dod Architects, describes the practice’s design of Park House – a new inpatient mental health facility at North Manchester General Hospital that will replace one of the largest remaining dormitory-based such units in the UK, and will also be one of the first multi-level mental health units with roof gardens in the north of England.

Technology keeping a tight rein on site security

Philip Verner explains how CEM Systems can help mental healthcare facilities maintain a ‘zero-risk strategy’ to protecting staff, service-users, & visitors, by providing absolute control as to who can go where and when, within their building or sites

Part of the ‘toolkit’ to help young people recover

James Christian, an architect and director, and Creative strategist and director, Megan Charnley, report on the practice’s design of the interior of the CAMHS unit at Edinburgh’s new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People.

Listening to service-users is imperative with design

The Design in Mental Health Network has always recognised the value of hearing from serviceusers on their experiences in a variety of mental healthcare settings – something reflected in a number of presentations at last August’s DiMH 2021 conference

A focus on widening engagement planned

The Design in Mental Health Network’s 2021 AGM, held ‘virtually’ on 3 November, saw reports presented by Chair, Philip Ross, and Treasurer, Phil Barsby, as well as the leads of the DiMHN’s various Workstreams

Stakeholder engagement is a major part in design

Mark Carter, Partner, and Victor Muniz, Architectural director at the firm, explain the planned consolidation of the new facility, and their approach to 21st-century mental health design.

A sense of community at new Northgate Hospital

In November last year, construction started on the £60 m redevelopment of the medium secure service provision at Northgate Hospital in Morpeth, Northumberland.

‘Borders and boundaries’ matter to service-users

A new Design in Mental Health Network guide to designing ‘with borders and boundaries in mind’ was unveiled on the first day of August’s DiMH 2021 conference at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

A chance to recognise and celebrate excellence

August’s Design in Mental Health 2021 conference and exhibition in Coventry saw the presentation of ten DiMH 2021 awards recognising outstanding achievement, creativity, and innovation.

How modern inpatient settings can improve

Speaking at the DiMH 2021 conference, Jane Ray, head of Hospital Inspections at the CQC, gave an insight into the CQC’s role in the mental health arena, and a service-user described her difficult experience as a as an inpatient

Fire detection challenges in secure environments

Within a mental health facility, designing or upgrading system infrastructure is a challenge – fire alarms systems being no exception

Covering all the bases for safe and compliant doors

Julian Hall, Sales director at Kingsway Group, describes the company’s ‘five-step approach’ to door safety, developed with the benefit and experience of many hundreds of successful installations in mental healthcare facilities.

Origins in academic and healthcare collaboration

Joe Forster, recalls the DIMHN’s earliest days, and explains how its origins lie in shifts in thinking early in the new Millennium about the sort of environments that were needed to provide effective 21st-century mental healthcare.

Repurposing heritage buildings for recovery

Dr Christina Malathouni, and Haziq Khairi, University who has been working with her on research into mental health facilities UK-wide, consider Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘unique approach’ to its contemporary mental health facilities.

Highlights and challenges in an eventful 15 years

Last November’s ‘virtual’ Design in Mental Health Network 2020 AGM saw Jenny Gill, among the organisation’s longest-standing members, and the Network’s Chair since 2013, step down from both the role and the DiMHN Board.

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