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Speakers at the mhdf forum

Addressing the most current and pressing subjects through our CPD-certified seminars.

Speakers at the mhdf 2019

“Healing Environments: a service-user perspective on the factors that truly support recovery”

Katharine Lazenby, Mental Health Trainer, Peabody Housing Association

As a former psychiatric inpatient I will be drawing on my lived experience to highlight the impact the physical environment in mental health treatment and support settings has on the wellbeing of service users. I will look at how such spaces can provide a more positive patient experience, truly reflect service users’ needs and thus support rather than undermine the progress of recovery.

Reflecting on my journey from patient to mental health trainer, a role in which I am able to use my experiences to educate and guide professionals working in care and support services, I will share the impact being treated as a collaborator and expert by experience has had on my own recovery. A passionate advocate for service user involvement at all stages of the design and delivery of mental health services, I will be emphasising that the impact of co-production is far-reaching and profound.

“Better product decisions for those designing and building mental health facilities”

Philip Ross, Board Director – Testing & Innovation Lead, Design in Mental Health Network (DIMHN)

Design in Mental Health Network (DIMHN) has a simple goal—to make mental health environments better for patient recovery and safer for staff.  There is a lack of independent test guidance or testing for the challenges mental health environments present.  The Network has spent the past 5 years developing a series of testing methods specifically for this sector of design and construction.

This presentation will discuss some of the common challenges witnessed which were used to develop the testing methods – with a focus on ligature performance and robustness. 

Review key areas of risk within mental health environments and lessons learned about managing risk in reality.

“Sensory Design for Dementia Care”

Anke Jakob, Lecturer & Research Fellow – Design School, Kingston University.

People living with dementia, particularly in later stages, are often at risk of sensory deprivation because of their limited ability to sufficiently access or process sensory stimuli – impacting their health and well-being.

This presentation gives an insight into interdisciplinary research investigating how appropriate design can provide solutions for this challenge through creating experience-focused, sensory spaces that better meet the sensory needs of people with dementia and offer suitable occupation and stimulation.

“Green Thoughts in a Green Shade? Maximising the Therapeutic Potential of Outdoor Space”

Andrew Kingston, Recovery Service Manager, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.

What makes gardens work for people? Particularly in inner city areas where green space is a limited commodity, the spaces around hospitals and care homes can be used to make a real difference to health, well-being and rates of recovery. The way in which these areas are designed and laid out is crucial to their therapeutic amenity value. In this presentation I will discuss some of the factors that can help or hinder their ongoing use by staff, patients and families within facilities for people with mental health problems. 

“The value of the external environment towards good mental health”

Jeremy Parker, Director, Fira Landscape Ltd

The Landscape’s ability to generate proactive engagement between people and their surroundings, especially the calming hand of nature, is particularly evident when designing spaces for those with mental health or behavioural issues.

Jeremy will explore the importance of working closely with client and design teams, to provide holistic design solutions that take into account all the complexities associated with different mental and emotional illnesses from dementia to personality disorders, and the specialised care they each need.

The often vulnerable and sensitive nature of these patient groups, requires space where everyone, including those in care, staff and visitors feels safe and secure. The external environment can be integral to this and factors, such as colour, sound and natural light, can contribute to positive behavioural outcomes; while a focus on incorporating nature and art can be used for therapy and reflection to reduce levels of stress.

Increasingly, these principles are being taken into non-clinical sectors to aid mental health in the wider built environment.

Claire Barton, Partner, & Kate McGechan, Associate,  Haverstock.

Matthew Balaam, Partner, Oxford Architects LLP.

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