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In February, when I wrote the original ‘Comment’ for this edition of The Network, I was full of excitement and anticipation for our conference in June. Over the coming few weeks, the situation changed, as COVID-19 approached our shores.
Working alongside mental healthcare providers, and listening to feedback from experts by lived experience, clinical staff, estates teams, and architects, Safehinge Primera set out – in developing its new Integrated Override Lockset – to to design a lockset that empowered patients, while allowing staff to gain emergency access to a service-user’s room as quickly as possible, without the use of a toolkit.
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THE NETWORK | APRIL 2020
Travel restrictions were introduced, countries closed borders, and airports and schools closed, and life became increasingly difficult. It was then – with sadness – that we took the decision to postpone this year’s annual conference, exhibition, and awards dinner until later in the year. Fortunately, the Ricoh Arena in Coventry has been able to offer us dates in November – Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th of that month. Please note the dates in your diary; we can all then pretend it is June, although I suspect the weather may give us a clue that it isn’t. We all recognise that against the backdrop of the coronavirus, mental health will be suffering – not just among the elderly, who may feel even more socially isolated, but equally among the young mothers wondering if they will be able to get the basics for their children, the employed wondering whether they will still have a job when it is all over, and all of us wondering when this will end. The world seems to be going mad, panic buying is rife, a delivery slot from all the supermarkets is only available way into the future, businesses are looking at continuity plans, and the NHS is gearing up to deal with some very ill people. People have worried expressions on their faces, and are scurrying in and out of the
11 Drawing on experience to help and guide others In the second part of a discussion with editor, Jonathan Baillie, Katharine Lazenby talks enthusiastically about her recent work – through conference speaking, teaching, and volunteering – to help those with mental ill health regain their equilibrium.
16 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 explains how the products were developed.
20 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.
24 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. A facility that encapsulates this is The Junipers Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit in Wonford, Devon.
28 Collaborative research delivers valuable insights
Antonio Lourenco of Altro talks 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’.
Community initiatives help to dispel the gloom Journal of the Design in Mental Health Network
supermarket, not making eye contact, and not always leaving plenty of space from others, and indeed shops with a counter now have a yellow line to stand behind. We have new words in our vocabulary too – ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’ – both unconducive to improving mental health. However, it isn’t all doom and gloom; there are some wonderful community initiatives springing up – such as local Facebook groups with people offering to help the housebound, What’s App groups for neighbours to keep in touch for socialising and assistance, social media groups sharing activities and opportunities to keep families with children occupied both online and in the family home and garden, and online tutoring for children unable to attend school.
I suspect we will come out of this pandemic into a new and different world. I hope that world will include a more caring and mindful community spirit – one which helps and assists neighbours whether vulnerable or not. Perhaps we will have a happy and more contented life.
Keep yourself, your families, friends, colleagues, and neighbours safe, and I hope to see you all in November.
Jenny Gill, Chair, Design in Mental Health Network
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