Designing better mental healthcare facilities

A service-user’s view on improving care spaces

Service-users’ lived experience in mental healthcare facilities can provide valuable insights. At June’s DiMH conference, Nick Smith, who spent a lengthy period as an inpatient at Bradford’s Lynfield Mount Hospital, reflected on some of his most challenging times.

Service-users’ lived experience in mental healthcare facilities – and particularly their views on the features and characteristics of the environment that most hindered or enhanced their recovery, can provide valuable insights. At June’s Design in Mental Health 2022 conference, Nick Smith, who spent a lengthy period as an inpatient at Bradford’s Lynfield Mount Hospital, reflected on some of his most challenging times. He was joined by Cath Lake from P+HS Architects, which has developed plans to create a modern, light, bright, and therapeutic replacement for the hospital.

In his profile in the official guide to this year’s Design in Mental Health conference, exhibition, and awards – held at the Coventry Building Society Arena from 8-9 June – former service-user, Nick Smith, pulled no punches in explaining that, after ‘a childhood of neglect, abuse, and violence’, during which he ‘developed his own demons’, he attempted suicide aged 19, and was admitted to a mental healthcare facility as an inpatient. He spent most of his 20s ‘drunk and in and out of therapies’, and in 2011, aged 32, ‘lost hope of being a decent dad’ to his five-yearold daughter, and planned to end his life. At that low point, he was admitted to Bradford’s Lynfield Mount Hospital, where – he told delegates at DiMH 2022 – he felt he had ‘no personality’, and ‘didn’t know what to do’. Feeling his treatment there did him ‘more harm than good’, he put in a complaint, and on returning home, firmly hoped he would never have to go back into inpatient care.

Invited to discuss experiences

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