Designing mental health delivery systems: Where do we start?

Alexander Komashie*, Sarah Ray, Manaan Kar Ray, P. John Clarkson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review


Healthcare services that consistently meet the needs of service users have to be designed. The growing demand for better quality of care, together with an increasing awareness of limited resources, are bringing attention to the need for design in healthcare. In mental health, considered the largest cause of disability in the UK, the need is great. Existing services often fail to meet demands and do not consistently deliver good quality care for all service users. The design of better delivery systems has the potential to improve service user experience and care outcome. But, where do we start? This paper reports the first stage of an ongoing research to co-design a language for designing mental health services. This stage of the research identified, through focus groups and interviews with service users and clinicians, the key components of a mental health service. This paper argues that an appropriate concept of a mental health delivery service as a system, the identification of its key components and an understanding of the association between these components form an essential first step in designing such a system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-408
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED
Issue numberDS87-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event21st International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2017 - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 21 Aug 201725 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This Research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for the East of England at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. The authors will also like to acknowledge the contributions of the Service User Advisory Group (SUAG) and Ms Ruth Holmes for their valuable contributions in shaping the DIAGRAMS research.


  • Design process
  • Mental health
  • Service design
  • Systems Engineering (SE)


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