Environment and mental health: the impact of new buildings on the programs and organization of a psychiatric hospital

Authors


  • *Revision of paper presented at the Midwest Sociological Society meetings, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 1973. The study is supported in part, by contract, CM-12, from the Research and Planning Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Health. We are grateful to the administration, staff, and patients of Queen Street Mental Health Centre for their cooperation and interest. We are greatly indebted to Professor Peter K. New of the Department of Behavioural Science for his consistent encouragement, guidance, and assistance.

Abstract

Ce texte porte sur la relation réciproque entre l'environnement physique et les programmes réalisés dans cet environnement, et plus spécialement sur les effets de changements dans l'environnement physique. Des observateurs-participants ont été présents avant, pendant, et après le déplacement d'une partie d'un hôpital mental provincial d'un édifice archaique du dix-neuvième siécle à des commodités modernes sur le même terrain. Des observations de même que de la documentation historique sont présentées de façon à illustrer comment des changements de valeurs et d'attitudes par rapport à la maladie mentale sont liés à des modifications du milieu physique de traitement.

The reciprocal relationship between the effects of the physical environment and the programs conducted in that environment are discussed, with a particular emphasis on the effects of change in the physical environment. Participant observers were present before, during, and after the relocation of part of a provincial mental hospital from an archaic nineteenth-century building to modern facilities on the same grounds. Data from the study, as well as historical material, are offered to illustrate some of the ways in which changed values and attitudes about mental illness are linked to modifications in physical settings where treatment is given.

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