Expressed emotion and the hospital environment: An update on consumer perceptions of mental health environments
Consumer perceptions of safety within mental health treatment environments was found to be a significant determinant of therapeutic engagement as outlined in Expressed emotion and the hospital environment. Consumer perceptions of built environments were further examined through qualitative analysis in conjunction with an examination of existing built therapeutic environments. The information attained was used to develop a series of design recommendations for architects/designers to utilise when designing therapy and counselling spaces. Despite the literature affirming links between good design practice and mental well-being , existing design guidance is often too generic, describing broad principles to be achieved, but offering little tangible advice for the designer to integrate these principles into a realised built environment.
A series of design recommendations were developed based on environment aspects commented on by consumers, and supported by other interview participant groups. If these design recommendations were to be integrated into the built environments delivering mental health services, then the difficulties or negative psychological interferences reported by the consumers would be mollified and/or eliminated. To illustrate how these design recommendations could be utilised, two concept designs for built mental health service facilities were developed.
What emerged from the study was the notion that for individuals who self harm, the built environment is not merely the housing of therapy, but an active participant in the therapeutic process.
PhD Candidate and Sessional Staff
Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning
University of Melbourne VIC 3010