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CAMH Redevelopment Project wins 2009 Academy Award for Mental Health Design

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2009 (Toronto) - The first phase of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)’s ambitious redevelopment project has won the International Academy for Design and Health’s 2009 Academy Award for a Mental Health Design.
This prestigious award was presented in Singapore to representatives of CAMH and the C3 Community Care Consortium— a partnership of Montgomery Sisam Achitects, Kearns Mancini Architects, Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects.  The Academy recognizes mental health design projects that “provide a civilising and humane setting to support therapeutic intervention”.  The CAMH project won out over finalists from Greece, Northern Ireland and France.
CAMH has a bold, transformational agenda: to change the face of mental health and addiction treatment, integrate the hospital with its West Queen West neighbourhood in Toronto, and break down the stigma surrounding these illnesses.  Opening up its 27-acre site to the community, CAMH is creating a mixed-use urban village where state-of-the art treatment and research facilities will be interspersed with shops, housing, businesses and parks on nine newly created city blocks.
The Academy Award recognized the CAMH Redevelopment’s first phase: an Ambulatory Patient Care Building and three 24-bed Alternate Milieu Buildings designed for transitional residential and outpatient care for clients in the Addictions and Mood and Anxiety Programs. The buildings provide CAMH clients with a home-like environment that is therapeutic, healing, and safe—holistic architecture which enhances therapeutic relationships, encourages personal choice and autonomy, provides privacy and healing spaces, incorporates wellness and exercise, connects to the outdoors and breaks down barriers between the client and the community.
“These new open, light-filled CAMH buildings are designed specifically to support our new model of care and enhance client recovery,” said CAMH CEO and President Dr. Catherine Zahn today. “Staff and clients love them. This Award is an amazing boost to our ongoing redevelopment process.”
According to the Academy’s judges, "In the field of mental healthcare it is rare to see so many hurdles cleared in one go, but the combined initiatives taken by the architectural, clinical and management teams result in a quantum leap for others to emulate.  Humane vision, innovation and design skill go hand in hand to produce a measurable and conspicuous success of a high order."
CAMH will break ground on the next phase of its multi-phase redevelopment project early in 2010 when construction on three new CAMH buildings will begin alongside the first non-CAMH building, bringing CAMH one step closer to achieving its vision of providing high quality, integrated mental health and addiction care in a revitalized urban village.
For more information or to arrange an interview with Architect Alice Liang of Montgomery Sisam or with CAMH, please contact Michael Torres, CAMH Media Relations, at 416 595-6015
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Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development, prevention and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. www.camh.net
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