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A Therapeutic Approach to Preventing Self-Harm

By: Hunt, James M. | This article was originally published in Behavioral Healthcare Executive.


The focus on suicide prevention and patient safety in behavioral health treatment environments has led designers to include more elements that could be seen as "institutional," or even "prison like." Yet, designers know that more patient-centered designs can have a positive effect on a patients self-perception, sense of well being, and healing.


More evidence shows that both safety and a healing environment can be designed into the built environment of treatmen t facilities. ' However, designers of mese facilities need to be aware that experience and research in medical/surgical settings does not translate well into me behavioral health environment.


Because patient and staff safety cannot be compromised, these concerns weigh heavily into the design, construction, and even the operation of todays facilities. Designers are learning how to respond to these trends, identifying more options to help balance the concern for safety with design elements that foster a more home-like, non-institutional environment.


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