Colours of recovery : healing the mind through a journey of community connections and architectural spaces
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Citation:Pirret, L. (2017). Colours of recovery: healing the mind through a journey of community connections and architectural spaces. An unpublished research project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture Professional, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4470
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can the architectural design of a Community Mental Health facility support holistic healing and integration of the mentally ill into the community? “Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stressors of life, can work productively and is able to contribute to his or her community. In this positive sense, mental health is fundamental for collective as well as individual well-being,” according to the World Health Organisation.1 In the 2012/13 New Zealand Health Survey, one in six New Zealand adults had been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some time in their lives. Mental disorders as a group are the third leading cause of health loss in New Zealand. Depression and anxiety are the most common disorders with Maori being over represented in the mental health system.2 Mental illness not only has an enormous impact on sufferers but is also a great economic cost to society. The annual cost of treating mental illness in New Zealand is $17 billion.3 As architects and designers we are here to serve our community by undertaking the task of providing spaces that will contribute to the well-being of all and the healing of the significant minority of mentally ill amongst us. The latest trends in behavioural health architecture come from not only academic and clinical research, but from built projects, outcomes, collaboration with clients and user groups. The latest developments tend to be on a domestic scale, providing access to nature, plenty of fresh air and light, and where possible, maximising the community-based model of care. The amount of research that specifically addresses behavioural health is still small. In this paper, I examine the current research available in the form of academic and clinical research and completed built projects. Based on this research I have then formulated principles of design which I have followed to successfully create Community Residential Units (live-in staff), integrated with a Community-Based Acute Behavioural Treatment Unit (24-hour care) and Wellness Centre. 1 World Health Organization,” 2010 Fact Sheet 220. Mental Health: Strengthening Our Response” accessed 14 April 2017, www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/ 2 Mental Health Foundation,” Quick Facts and Stats 2014’, accessed 14 April 2017,www.mentalhealth.org.nz/.../MHF-Quick-facts-and-stats- FINAL.pdf 3 Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists,” The economic cost of serious mental illness and comorbidities in Australia and New Zealand 2016, accessed 14 April 2017, www.ranzcp.org/Files/Publications/RANZCP-Serious-Mental-Illness.aspx