Healing Design for Teens

Key takeaways from the webinar Healing design for teens in crisis: A story of innovation, research & hope. Hosted by The Center for Health Design. Presented by Jessica Radecki, Associate Principal, Medical Planner Clark/Kjos Architects

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Last week Stance Healthcare sponsored a webinar hosted by The Center for Health Design.  Focused on healing design for teens, over 340 people attended the webinar, making it the largest audience ever for The Center for Health Design. With increased awareness of mental health and adolescents, it’s obvious why this webinar on healing design for teens was of interest to so many people.

The presentation specifically addressed a project Jessica worked on in Washington that was completed in November of 2016. MultiCare’s Tacoma General Hospital is 19,600 square feet, has 27 inpatient beds and serves adolescents between the ages of 13-18 who have been admitted both voluntary and involuntarily.  The framework of the project was based on Trauma Informed Care and recovery values of hope, acceptance, mutual respect, inclusion, empowerment, choice, citizenship, person-centered, meaningfulness and believing in people.

Guided by research the design process included providing 3 different spaces within the behavioral health environment:

  1. Physical: Providing functional spaces for sufficient and varied activity. This includes access to nature and views, providing adequate space, avoiding crowding, creating variety, and being sensitive to stimulation.
  2. Social: These spaces promote positive behaviors by providing privacy, a range of active spaces, and a place for spiritual mindfulness, physical exercise, and social intimacy.
  3. Symbolic: These spaces provide signals of trust, collaboration, refuge and respect by
    creating a non-containment feeling, minimizing signals of mistrust, and creating a sense of community.

Jessica also reference an excellent resource for designers and architects. The Patient Safety Standards, Materials and Systems Guidelines recommended by the New York State Office of Mental Health provides guidelines on selecting materials, fixtures, and hardware. You can find the publication on the Office of Mental Health website.

After watching this webinar, I can definitely appreciate the challenges that come with creating a healing design for teens.

A recording of the webinar will be available on the Center for Health Design website in the next couple of weeks. I encourage you to check it out.