Designing better mental healthcare facilities


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.

Powerful precedent for historic NHS site

How a fascinating historical site, and a close working relationship between Kajima, Sir Robert McAlpine, and a Mental Health NHS Trust, has helped unlock the estate modernisation of the Springfield University Hospital in Wandsworth.

Taking some guess work out of product selection

The Design in Mental Health Network and multidisciplinary building science centre, BRE have jointly developed a guide to testing a broad spectrum of products used in mental healthcare facilities to ensure fitness for purpose.

Collaborative research delivers valuable insights

Freelance writer, Debbie Giggle, talks to Antonio Lourenco, Global Product manager at Altro, about what the flooring and wall cladding specialist dubs ‘an innovative collaborative research project to assist safety and wellbeing in acute mental health wards through better design of buildings, components, fixtures, and fittings’.

Safety and security in a therapeutic setting

Design engineers, Safehinge Primera, are passionate about working alongside mental healthcare providers to develop products that create safe spaces for recovery.

Combating isolation, keeping independence

Peter Moran, Director at Todd Architects, considers how using light, colour, and scale, can promote independence and wellbeing for residents in dementia-friendly housing, in turn helping to combat isolation and minimise stress.

Reducing the indignity of physical restraint

Pineapple Contracts has recently unveiled two pieces of furniture designed to make physical intervention practices in the mental healthcare sector safer and more dignified for patients, as well as staff. Daniel White, the company’s head of Sales, explains how the products were developed, and the rationale behind them.

Drawing on experience to help and guide others

In the January 2020 The Network, Katharine Lazenby, who spent more time in her 20s in mental healthcare facilities than at home, but is now on the road to recovery, discussed with editor, Jonathan Baillie, some of her at times challenging and difficult experiences as an inpatient service-user.

Historic hospital’s fitting replacement

Derek Shepherd, a director at P+HS Architects, describes the many different architectural, aesthetic, clinical, and service-user-centric elements the practice took into account in creating a new adult and older people’s acute inpatient mental healthcare facility in York for the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.

Fendor purchase marks the start of a new era

It is now almost three years since Crittall, an Essex-based window manufacturer with a history spanning well over a century, acquired the trade and assets of Fendor – a specialist designer and manufacturer of high security, ballistic, and bomb-proof fenestration, which also supplies windows to the custodial, mental health, and petrochemical industries.

From ruined barns to residential facility

The IAD Company, an award-winning Cardiff-based not-for-profit design consultancy, recently successfully redeveloped a number of ruined agricultural barns on the Welsh coast into a set of ‘forever homes’ for adults living with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Contrasting settings and their differing impact

Katharine Lazenby has extensive ‘lived experience’ as a mental health service-user, having, in her 20s, been admitted to inpatient facilities 10 times over a 13-year period. Now firmly on the path to recovery, she works to help others with mental ill health get better, feel more ‘in control’, and regain their equilibrium.

Good domestic design boosts wellbeing

Richard Mazuch, an architect and designer, and the director of Design Research and Innovation at IBI Group, looks at some of the effects of different domestic environments, designs, and characteristics, on mental health.

Helping to develop lifelong resilience

With, as he puts it, ‘funding shortfalls in the billions, year-long wait times for CAMHS referrals, and young people in crisis being left in limbo’, Phil Tottman, the developer of Book of Beasties:

Imaginative designs for therapeutic settings

Teal LifeCare designs, develops, and manufactures furniture to meet the specific needs of service-users with dementia, challenging behaviour, learning disabilities, eating disorders, autism, and a variety of mental health conditions.

A ‘paradigm shift’ in inpatient care

The use of seclusion and restraint in mental healthcare settings, and how such practices use can be reduced in line with ‘more 21st century’ thinking, and more ‘humane’ ways of dealing with extremely distressed or, on occasions, violent service-users, was the subject of an afternoon session on the first day of this year’s Design in Mental Health 2019 conference.

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