Creating warm and welcoming inpatient mental health units is today’s norm. To support mental health awareness, Parkin Principal, Lynne Wilson Orr comments on her experience in planning and designing a mental health facility for children and adolescents.
“As researchers are developing a greater understanding of when and how fast specific areas of children’s brains develop, clinicians are learning more about the early stages of a wide range of mental illnesses that appear later in life. Helping children and adolescents and their parents to manage difficulties early in life may prevent the development of disorders. Once mental illness develops, it becomes a regular part of the child’s behaviour—and more difficult to treat. Short, intensive stays in Child/Adolescent Inpatient Mental Health Units are shown to have a positive impact on children and teens in proactively managing their challenges. Parkin’s design for the new Child/Adolescent Unit at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital was developed to be a warm and welcoming space, with a kid- and teen-friendly atmosphere. Bright colours, private washrooms, bedrooms with big windows with views of the outdoors, and generously-sized communal eating and lounge spaces provide a safe space for kids and teens.”