Why anti-ligature products are essential in mental health settings

  • 29 Nov 2019

Contour Heating has found that anti-ligature products are essential in mental health settings, and here Contour explains why…

An anti-ligature product is one that reduces the risk of someone tying material around a piece of furniture to inflict harm to themselves or anyone else. Particularly beneficial in mental health settings, Contour has worked hard to develop safe solutions for those at most risk. 

After having attended and exhibited at the recent Design and Mental Health Conference and Exhibition back in May, Contour found a growing concern and need for mental health facilities to assess their suicide prevention policies.

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy recommends that manufacturers provide alternative solutions and
products to ensure the risk of suicide is kept at a minimum within mental health settings. This led us to produce
three new anti-ligature products with the core aim of reducing the risk of suicide for those most vulnerable.
Having the opportunity to showcase our new anti-ligature products enabled us to demonstrate how each product
can dramatically reduce suicide, self-harm, and damage to mental health settings.

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy contains statistics from the International Journal of Nursing Studies (2011). It reported that:
– 244 inpatient suicide attempts were made in 2009
– 208 of these reported by acute psychiatric wards
– 201 attempts were by strangulation.

Most recently, the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety (2016) showed that suicides by people in
contact with mental health facilities have risen since 2006.

Further to these findings, the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety (2016) noted that the commonest method of suicide by patients continued to be hanging/strangulation, accounting for 776 deaths UK-wide in 2016, almost half of all patient suicides.

The statistics speak for themselves here. Developing ways to prevent such instances occurring is what has led Contour to manufacture three new products, with aims to grow and adapt as new statistics come to light.

The Role of the Architect in Mental Health Settings

When an architect is tasked with the important role of designing a health care facility, his or her role is to create:

1. An environment which is aesthetically pleasing
2. An environment which positively improves the patients’ healing process
3. An environment which is safe and preventative of any potential risks

The architects and designers are in their comfort zones when implementing the first two points. The challenge
comes when considering the last point. It’s difficult for anyone to place themselves in the shoes of a patient who is battling suicidal and self-harming thoughts.

To be able to prevent these instances before they even occur is a skill that requires a deep understanding of the
thought process of those service users. In developing anti-ligature products for mental health settings, Contour is
making steps towards understanding the needs of those most vulnerable.

Risk Does Not Always Come From the Ceiling

When discussing the sensitive issue of self-strangulation and hanging, we are often drawn to looking at the ceiling for potential ligature points, hence the introduction of the anti-ligature ventilation grille. However, through thorough research and analysis, Contour recognises that such instances can occur at any place in a
mental health environment, regardless of the height of the risk. Suicidal individuals will look for any opportunity to inflict harm onto themselves, prompting Contour to look at the bigger picture.

The Bigger Picture

In looking at ‘the bigger picture’, we also recognise that whilst there is a huge need to prevent in-patient suicide
within mental health settings, there is also a need to address those day-to-day issues and concerns that all mental
health environments face.

Damage to resources costs mental health wards thousands of pounds a year, which is a constant drain on facilities’ already tight funds. Damage is caused by a number of reasons, namely confrontation and anger-fuelled outbursts.

Having an appropriately resourced facility will help to prevent damages when such incidents occur.

Product Overviews

Contour is pleased to provide three new anti-ligature products for mental health. They are:
– The Anti-Ligature Ventilation Grille
– The Anti-Ligature TV Cabinet
– The Anti-Ligature Light Switch Cover

We have designed all three products with the safety and well-being of its users in mind, whilst offering an array of
bespoke fitting and colour options* to suit your individual settings’ needs. If you would like to learn more about our three new products, click here.

Contour can be contacted at;
The Mansions
43 Broadway
Shifnal
TF11 8BB
Tel: 01952 290 498
Email: [email protected]

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