Conference will address most talked-about issues

The 2019 Design in Mental Health conference, exhibition, and dinner is now just over a month away. Following our comprehensive conference preview in the January 2019 of The Network, here we focus on some of the conference highlights, include the conference programme, and feature some of the exciting products and services set to be shown in this year’s exhibition. Many will be new, and designed specifically to meet the challenges that estates directors and clinicians, working in mental healthcare settings with responsibility for specification, face.

Taking place at a new, larger venue, Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, DiMH 2019 will be held from 21-22 May, and promises to be as lively, engaging, and informative as ever. A conference addressing some of the most talked-about issues in the design, construction, fitting out, and operation of mental healthcare facilities will see keynote speeches given by former Minister of State for Care and Support and Liberal Democrat MP, Norman Lamb, who has made equality between physical and mental healthcare a personal crusade, and Simon Corben, director and head of Profession, NHS Estates and Facilities, at NHS Improvement. The broad range of topics discussed over the conference’s two days will range from the design of safe and effective seclusion spaces, and a look at the particular needs of children and other young service-users with mental health issues, to the DiMHN’s and BRE’s ongoing development of ‘standard’ test methods for products used in mental health settings (see also page 5), and the importance and therapeutic value and impact of green spaces.

Hear from former Minister Norman Lamb, the MP for Norfolk North, who became Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary in 2006, and, when the Conservative/Lib Dem Coalition subsequently came into power, Minister of State at the Department of Health for Care and Support, will give a mid-morning keynote speech on the conference’s second day. The architect of a number of key reforms to the care sector, he was instrumental in the drive to ‘join up’ the

health and care system, and is a firm advocate for, and continuing champion of, parity of importance between physical and mental health.

Joint working on testing and standards Many readers of The Network will know (see also the ‘News’ section of the January 2019 The Network) that the DiMHN and leading building science centre, the BRE, have been working together for over two years now to progress the development of quality and fitness-for-purpose standards for products used in mental healthcare settings, to ease the task of specifiers. In a keynote speech on the conference’s first day, Philip Ross, a DiMHN director who heads up the Network’s Testing & Innovation workstream, will update delegates on progress over the past six months on this key and potentially far-reaching initiative. Another conference session with a highly topical theme, ‘Safe in seclusion’, will cover some of the latest thinking on how to design seclusion spaces, drawing on academic research and case study evidence on what ‘works well’ for both staff and service-users.

‘Children are the Future’ will be the

overarching theme of a number of presentations at the 2019 conference. Here the speakers will include Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children — a national children’s charity that provides practical and emotional support for disabled youngsters; she will focus particularly on the successful completion of the impressive new Caudwell International Children’s Centre in Staffordshire, the UK’s first independent purpose-built centre dedicated to multidisciplinary autism diagnosis, support, and research (The Network – October 2018). A joint presentation by Associate Professor in Critical Care at Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sepideh Olausson RN, CCRN, PhD, and Franz James, a Doctoral Student Design/Associate Professor Furniture Design, HDK – Academy for Design and Crafts, at the same university, will discuss a current project examining patients’ lived experiences of being cared for in forensic psychiatric settings, with a focus on patient rooms, and research into the physical environment in special residential homes for young people.

Health & Wellbeing

The afternoon’s Health & Wellbeing session will include a presentation by associate director at The Fairhursts Design Group, Anthony Jones, on ‘Metabolic syndrome & architecture: Improving our health and wellbeing’, while IBI architect and Studio director, Karen Flatt, will discuss the design of Rowan View, a new 123-bedded medium secure mental health hospital in Liverpool for both mentally unwell and learning disability patients.

Dementia, and the challenges of caring for an increasing number of patients living


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