We know that positive outcomes in mental health are a product of many factors, and one key factor is the environments in which care is delivered.
Throughout various phases of redevelopment, CAMH has improved our hospital spaces to create functional, modern areas for recovery. Replacing outdated physical structures with purpose-built environments for care has been beneficial for the patients we treat, as well as staff responsible for their care.
But sometimes, introducing new spaces is not enough, and additional work needs to be done to transform clinical hospital areas into warm, welcoming spaces for healing that are conducive to recover.
This was a predicament that Recreation Therapist Janu Macdonald identified when the CAMH Downtown Central outpatient clinic moved from their offices on the vibrant West Queen West site to an upper floor of the hospital’s College and Spadina location. Going from a comfortable, familiar place for outpatients to a space that was formerly a clinical inpatient ward introduced a few challenges.
“Our service treats clients with schizophrenia and other complex illnesses. A lot of our clients have concurrent disorders as well, and there’s high demand for our services,” she says. “I happened to mention to Janine Bakalaar, Manager of CAMH Gifts of Light that we were moving. The walls of our new clinic were mint (coloured), and it just felt so clinical. It was an institutionalized space from when it was still an inpatient unit.”