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Acute Mental Health Wards: Therapeutic Spaces or Stigmatising Places?’
The acute mental health ward is the modern equivalent of the old mental asylum but little is known about factors informing its design and use or the underpinning philosophy of care upon which these facilities are based and if they could benefit from improvements. This multidisciplinary three year study will draw on perspectives from social science, psychiatry, nursing and architecture to understand the architectural design, therapeutic philosophy and social regime of the modern acute mental health unit in New Zealand. It will examine as case studies, three acute adult psychiatric wards in New Zealand. Using multiple existing sources of data, including architects plans, briefs and grey literature and collecting new data via in-depth interviews and small focus groups with mental health consumers resident in the wards, staff and other ward users and stakeholders, the findings from this research will inform a much needed evidence base for optimal acute psychiatric facility design in NZ. This research is funded by a Marsden Fast Start.
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