How better designed therapy spaces could improve mental health treatment – RN – Australia News

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August 28, 2017 10:42:15

The buildings we inhabit can change the way we feel. That’s particularly relevant when designing mental health spaces, and yet there are no real guidelines that cover this field.

With one in five Australians experiencing a mental illness in any year, a researcher at the Melbourne School of Design says it’s worth considering how to design the spaces in which therapy takes place.

Stephanie Liddicoat is nearing the completion of her PhD on the architecture and the design of therapeutic environments, and was inspired by the idea that better designed therapeutic spaces could improve overall treatment and recovery.

“We can all picture spaces that we’ve walked into in our own lives that have just felt wonderful,” Ms Liddicoat said.

“Conversely I think we can all picture some spaces that we’ve walked into that have just been awful. Hospitals are often one of them — they make us feel more stressed and anxious.”

Five ways to improve therapeutic spaces

  • A flexible layout that allows the negotiation of relationships.
  • Natural light and views out to nature.
  • Natural content in the room — photographs, plants, vases of flowers.
  • Lamps instead of overhead lights.
  • Fostering visual and audial privacy in the therapeutic space and waiting areas.

In her research, Ms Liddicoat visited therapeutic…

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