Designing out stigma from mental health facilities should start with demolishing walls

Blossom Court St Ann's - Medical Architecture -c-Tim Crocker

The time has come to integrate mental health facilities into the centre of our communities, writes Christopher Shaw

Anyone who has been sectioned or admitted to a mental health inpatient unit will understand how disorienting and disempowering a process it can be. We were therefore encouraged when health secretary Matt Hancock outlined a major overhaul of the 40-year-old Mental Health Act earlier this year. This review of the act is long overdue and the focus on tackling disparities faced by people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds is a welcome step forward, alongside other important changes.

This news will support shifts in the planning and design of new mental health settings which have been happening for many years. Historically, these settings had been located out of town in psychiatric hospitals or asylums - the term “round the bend” being derived from mental health treatment being literally out of sight.

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