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Designing Mental Health Delivery Systems: Where Do We Start?

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Mental health problems represent the largest single cause of disability in the UK, leading to an estimated cost of £105 billion a year to the economy. Existing services, however, fail to meet demands and consistently fail to deliver good quality care for service users. It is known that three quarters of people with mental health problems in the UK receive no support at all. Among those who get support, very few are able to access the full range of the recommended interventions. This suggests that better designed delivery systems have the potential to significantly impact on service user experience and care outcome. But where do we start? Inspired by the pivotal role that design plays in the realisation of complex engineering systems, this talk will argue that Mental Health delivery systems that can consistently meet the needs of service uses have to be designed and delivered. The talk will further argue that an appropriate conceptualisation of a Mental Health delivery service as a system and a way of describing it’s components is an essential starting point for designing such a system. This argument will be based on emerging insights from the DIAGRAMS project, an ongoing research into the diagrammatic description of Mental Health delivery systems.

This talk is part of the Engineering Design Centre Seminars series.

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