Drawings offer glimpse into Unity's care for behavioral health
The Unity Center for Behavioral Health aims to change the way we care for those people having mental health issues. Just-released architectural drawings –– with calming rooms with recliners, common space where people can mingle and soft colors and wood patterns throughout –– provide insight into the center’s approach to care.
“We want a building that has non-institutional feel,” says Chris Farentinos, vice president of Unity Center. “We want to create an environment that focuses on hope and recovery.”
Meeting a community need
The Unity Center, targeted for opening in early 2017 in Northeast Portland, hopes to ease the area’s emergency rooms by providing an innovative center for those needing psychiatric care. People having a mental health crisis will be evaluated when they arrive at Unity to decide whether they need temporary care, an inpatient room or transfer to a hospital for medical care. It will have inpatient rooms for adults and for children.
Unity is a collaboration between Adventist Health, Legacy Health, Kaiser Permanente and Oregon Health & Science University. It is under construction inside a building that houses Legacy Research Institute just east of the Rose Garden.
Differing from the traditional
The Unity Center will differ from a hospital or traditional mental-health center with:
• A system in which many of the people will be given recliners, not rooms
• An open area where people can merely relax and visit with others, as to not isolate patients
• Calming rooms where people can rest
• A courtroom where judges can address legal issues to keep people out of the criminal justice system
• On-site offices for local mental health agencies to provide resources for people
• Inpatient rooms that don’t feel like medical rooms
“We are trying to make it welcoming,” says Warren Tyler, project manager with PKA Architects, the firm designing the building. “We are trying to soften everything and make it feel more like a respite.”
Break down barriers, build up hope
While the immediate goal of Unity is to provide emergency care for those experiencing a mental health crisis, the center has bigger aims, Farentinos explains. “It will ultimately help remove the stigma,” she says. “By creating greater dialogue, understanding and compassion, the Unity model of care aims to break down barriers and build up hope.”
Drawings show (1) Open areas mean that people aren't isolated (2) Serene, non-medical feel of inpatient rooms (3) An open nurses station with patients relaxing (4) Welcoming entrance opens to a new way to address mental health emergencies
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Media inquiries: Brian Terrett, 503-415-5775 or email@example.com.