Our vision is that mental healthcare takes place in environments that bring hope; are comfortable, therapeutic and appropriate to those who use them.
In 2005 the Department of Design at a UK university had been collaborating with staff and clients in a mental health NHS trust in order to design and refurbish acute and low secure in-patient units. During this period many health professionals said that they were often asked to contribute to refurbishment and new builds with little design knowledge of their own. On the other hand, designers wanted more understanding of mental illness and the needs of mental health service users with whom they may be working. Service users and carers wanted to know how they can best contribute when they are asked to give advice.
A group of these people decided to facilitate a network for designers who particularly focus on mental health care settings. The Department of Design at the University funded a two year project which sought to develop the network. Called the Think Project, it aimed to raise issues and cause those involved in design to think about the effects and impact of design in mental health care settings as well as promoting thoughtful approaches to designing products used in these settings. Three annual conferences, several site visits, regional meetings, an educational collaboration with another university School of Architecture, exhibition stands and workshops, presentations at other conferences and this website all resulted. Following the end of the Think Project, the name Designers for Mental Health Care Settings Network was adopted and later shortened to the current title.