ATLANTA, GA – Skyland Trail, a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization, was recently featured inHealth Facilities Management magazine. The cover story of the June 2015 issue, Building Better Behavioral Health Care Facilities, cites the new Glenn Family Wellness Clinic, which opened earlier this year, and the planned Young Adult Campus as examples of a new movement in behavioral healthcare facility design – a movement to design and construct facilities that feel more like healing communities and less like hospitals.
Under the subheading, “Design with dignity” article author Amy Eagle describes the two new treatment spaces made possible by the recentChanging Minds campaign.
The Glenn Family Wellness Clinic has four exam rooms, a phlebotomy room, laboratory and infirmary. With the expanded space, Skyland Trail can better serve the Atlanta community. In addition to current clients and alumni of Skyland Trail, the Wellness Clinic also accepts patients with a diagnosed mental illness in the community who are referred by their mental healthcare provider.
Project designer Louise Labus was quoted in the article.
The clinic features mocha-colored concrete floors in the lobby and a blue, green and cream color scheme throughout that Louise Labus, ASID, senior associate of Collins Cooper Carusi Architects Inc., Atlanta, describes as “calming, natural, clean and classic.” Accent material made from reclaimed wood enhances the natural look and symbolizes the patient experience of recovery and renewal.
The article also features the future Young Adult Campus, which will include an additional 32-bed residential wing. The 32,000 sq. ft. campus will house 18-26 year old individuals diagnosed with a mental illness. It is scheduled to open in spring 2016.
The site plan includes a number of garden spaces designed for therapeutic activities, outdoor games, artistic expression or peaceful contemplation. Horticultural therapy, recreation and social engagement also are important parts of the Skyland Trail program.
The facility’s treatment spaces are planned to include floor-to-ceiling glass to provide a visual connection to the outdoors. Views will be somewhat protected and away from the courtyard, to minimize distraction. Group therapy rooms are designed similar to classrooms, but will be furnished with mid-size lounge chairs. These rooms also can be used for staff meetings while staff offices will be located across the hall.
The two-story, 32-bed residential wing will be linked to the treatment spaces by a glass-enclosed bridge. The bridge will be closed during the day to prevent patients from isolating themselves in their rooms, away from daily group activities. Metaphorically, it will represent the transition between patients’ home and work environments and their journey to recovery, Finnerty says. A variety of shared spaces in the residential wing, such as a family room, lounge and game room, are meant to encourage patients to socialize outside their private rooms near a strategically positioned nurse station. Casters allow furniture to be rearranged easily, so people can congregate as they choose.
Each patient room will feature a large window with a built-in window seat to give personal spaces a homey feel, explains Jeff Morrison, AIA, LEED AP, associate, Collins Cooper Carusi Architects. Windows in the patient rooms will extend low, so patients can view the landscape even while resting in bed.
The article closes with a statement from project architect for HopeWay Center in Charlotte, NC.
“’Until we start building buildings that look like we as a society treat people with mental illness in a way that is dignified, then people will want to avoid treatment. We’ve got to send the message that you can receive treatment and you can do it with dignity,’ says project architect Kevin Turner, AIA, LEED AP, principal, Perkins+Will.”