5 Ways to Make Sure Your Space Supports Mental Health
Is your healthcare facility helping the whole person?
Mental health issues are on the rise. There’s been a huge jump in anxiety alone with a National Health Survey done by the Australian Bureau of Statistics clocking up a massive rise in anxiety statistics from 3.8% of the total population in 2011–2012 to 11.2% in 2014–2015.
So how do you make sure your healthcare facility or medical clinic is positively engaging with those patients who are suffering mental health issues?
Here are 5 ways to make sure your space is catering to those suffering with mental health issues.
1. Natural light
Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused
2. Privacy and control
Those attending healthcare facilities are often in a vulnerable state and want to be reassured their privacy is being respected. The use of acoustic materials can eliminate noise pollution and help keep conversations confidential.
They also want to be able to demonstrate some level of control over their surroundings, instead of feeling a prisoner cooped up in a tiny waiting room on a hard-backed plastic chair while their undesirable neighbour drones away loudly on his mobile phone.
Providing people with the options to vary the air temperature and lighting, lockers to store personal possessions or desking, complete with charging ports, to accommodate those taking time away from work to attend their appointment can make a huge difference.
3. Soothing colours
Colour can have a profound impact on how we feel and our biological functions. Colour can impact on our nervous system, altering our psychology and physiology, from the energy and warmth associated with oranges to the classic healing and nurturing qualities making the use of green so recurrent in healthcare environments.
Determining which colors are best suited for significant areas within the healthcare industry should be done with plenty of consideration for not only the facility type, but for the impacts on those that will be seeing it the most.
4. Comfortable non clinical environments
Stay away from the line of plastic chairs top and tailed with a stack of old magazines.
Make the space inviting through a cluster of chairs around a coffee table for families, a quiet space for professionals or a child-friendly corner to keep kids entertained.
Even better, make your seating movable to give users an even greater sense of control.
5. Good Way-finding
Design your way-finding system with the first time visitor in mind.
Display signage and other assistance at intervals through progressional disclosure to make sure patients and other users are reassured every step of the way and don’t feel the need to flag someone down, which can be very intimidating.
Keeping way-finding consistent, at eye-level, and coordinated in terms of colouring and imagery will ensure all users feel at ease within the space and can get themselves where they want to go.