Towards new standards with the Design in Mental Health Network
It’s been a busy couple of months for Tough Furniture founder David Vesty, as he and our Production Director Stuart Briscoe have attended two Design in Mental Health Network workshops recently. DiMHN is a social enterprise organisation which brings together anyone with an interest in the design of mental health facilities – from architects to nursing staff, building contractors and suppliers to service users. The main focus of these workshops has been on laying the groundwork for the introduction of meaningful and recognised standards in the provision of furniture and other equipment to challenging areas such as mental health facilities. Historically there has been little in the way of agreed standards and manufacturing practices in this field but the Network is now hard at work on rectifying this, in conjunction with The Building Research Establishment (BRE).
The development of standards, testing procedures and accreditation will be a big step forward in the ongoing efforts to improve the quality and safety of provision for mental health facilities, as well as simplifying the specification process for both purchasers and suppliers. As one of the few companies in the country specialising solely in the manufacturing of furniture for challenging environments, Tough have been very pleased to offer the benefit of our unique focus and experience in this area to the discussions so far, which have focused on ligature-reduction design and product robustness. We’re now looking forward to the upcoming publication of draft consultation documents – and contributing further to bringing this vital project to fruition.