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Mental health

Mental health

The World Health Organisation defines wellbeing as a complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This is significant as it identifies the correlation between physical with mental wellbeing and mirrors current practice in mental health delivery.

As we are being urged to break down the barriers and stigma associated with mental health, there is a lot that can be done by manufacturers and specifiers to deliver patient and staff benefits by contributing to improved living environments for patients and working environments for staff.

The physical safety of patients has been linked with the maintenance of the built environment to promote feelings of security and wellbeing. Where physical safety and security break down, patients can lose trust in staff and treatments, which can lengthen recovery times.

Mental health encompasses many conditions and almost as many centres for treatment. At their core, however, are certain recurring concerns

  • Protecting the vulnerable
  • Protecting staff, patients, visitors and the broader community
  • Creating the right environment in which therapeutic care may thrive
  • Enabling an individualised yet holistic approach

These hold true across the main providers of mental health care, including

  • Community care
  • Inpatient services
  • Adult low secure services
  • Adult medium secure services
  • Adult high secure services

    Altro wood-look smooth flooring used at Wolfson House

The Department of Health has identified the vital role that the design of the built environment plays in patient recovery and the maintenance of staff morale.

Good design can reduce negative behaviour and promote positive patient outcomes

To achieve this goal, design should consider how best to reduce stress and conflict, while promoting patient recovery and enhancing staff confidence and morale. Colour, light, texture, noise reduction, ambience and personalisation all have a vital role to play.

“Creating the right environment for patients at Wolfson House is key to their long-term recovery and the surfaces and colours we use are part of that. Both patients and staff really like the timber effect flooring. It looks modern and homely and suits any type of colour scheme. The bathrooms look great, as well as being very practical. Altro Marine 20 is a superb non-slip floor and provides a reliable level of safety.”
Heidi Sowerbutts, Head of Capital Development at East London NHS Foundation commenting on Wolfson House, a low security mental health unit in Hackney, London

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