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Taking Steps to Reduce Risk of Self-harm in Mental Health Environments

Beginning from the premise that every life is precious, then any and all steps that can be taken should be taken to help reduce the risk of inpatient suicide.

Steps such as patient suicide-risk assessment and staff supervision are just two operational practices that must factor into an overall suicide-reduction mindset.

That being said, today’s architectural professionals face many challenges in designing patient space around mental health. Balancing between a safe environment for patients, while maintaining surroundings that are conducive to patient recovery. Healthcare professionals maintain the value of a ‘hospitality environment’ being a means to aid in patient healing.

There is evidence of increasing focus on ligature-resistant products. In our area of expertise, we have identified three product lines that support this all-important topic.

Ligature-resistant Handrails
Feature a continuous bracket or retainer behind the main rail to deny an attachment point.

Pop-out Curtain Carriers
The hook portion releases, allowing a privacy curtain to fall (disengages at +/- 10 lbs. of pressure).

Solid Surface Shower Surrounds and Receptors
A concern among mental health facility personnel is the ability of patients to chip out and “weaponize” ceramic tile by fashioning sharp edges to harm either themselves or facility staff.

We fully recognize there are many aspects and considerations in this challenging topic, however, product awareness and intelligence is a powerful tool to assist architects, designers and facility managers in strategizing in this environment.

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