Jun 12, 2015

Enlightened Approach to Mental Healthcare


Building Construction Design article – An enlightened approach to mental healthcare

Hopewood Park is one of the UK’s newest psychiatric hospitals and designed to provide a supportive, uplifting environment light years away from the dark and foreboding institutions of the past. Ray Philpott reports

Cast your eye over serene Hopewood Park with its spectacular hillside location offering views over the North Sea and you could easily imagine you are somewhere in Scandinavia.

Featuring minimalist but attractive low-rise buildings with subtle white, grey and natural wood finishes, it has more the look of a contemporary coastal development in Sweden or Norway than an NHS hospital in England’s North East. Running through the middle of Hopewood Park is an ‘ecological corridor’ featuring buildings covered by ‘living’ flat roofs with plants growing on them and a wetland area to create a habitat for bats and birds.

Whichever way you look at it, Hopewood Park is certainly not most people’s idea of a psychiatric hospital.  It stands in stark contrast to the demolished Ryhope Hospital it is built on, a dour institution that began as a temporary facility during the Second World War. The former hospital utilised some of the psychiatric facilities at the adjacent Cherry Knowle Hospital, built in the 19th century as a ‘lunatic asylum’, pulled down in 2011.

Hopewood Park, in contrast, is a comfortable, purpose-built 122-bed psychiatric hospital with calm and comfortable surroundings. It includes in-patient wards for acute patients, a 14-bed psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU), and retains a recently built 15-bed unit from the old site. It provides urgent care and assessment, rehabilitation for patients and support for older people with mental health illnesses.

– See more at: Building Construction Design