Designing Europe's largest Mental Healthcare facility for young people

It’s a sad reality that mental health issues affect around one in ten young people today. Some children may go on to develop mental disorders with challenging behaviours that mean it is no longer safe for them to live at home in their community. 

That’s where St Andrew’s Healthcare comes in – to play an important role in these young people’s lives and those of their families. St Andrew’s is a unique organisation in the UK. A charity with more than 175 years’ history in supporting those with mental illness, today it employs more than 4,000 people and cares for around 850 patients across the life span with some of the most complex conditions in the country. 

A significant number of those patients are aged 13-18. Their conditions might include severe mental disorders including psychotic illness, severe emotional disturbance and affective disorders, associated with learning disabilities and challenging behaviours (sometimes to others, including offending behaviours, but often harm that is directed to themselves). 

The Adolescent Pathway at St Andrew’s delivers of evidence-based treatment tailored to this patient group. Highly specialised multi-disciplinary teams work within predominantly secure in-patient wards. The pathway currently occupies two separate buildings at the charity’s large estate in Northampton. 

From January 2017, up to 110 young people will be cared for in a new, state of the art building, FitzRoy House. 

Paul Bentham, Service Director for the Adolescent Pathway at St Andrew’s explains why the charity decided to make a £45 million investment in the new building: 

“St Andrew’s vision is to transform people’s lives by delivering world class mental healthcare. We’re making this investment to give our young patients the best support possible and lead the way in caring for those that need specialist, secure services.

“Part of that is about ensuring that we apply the latest innovations both from a design and a therapy perspective. 

“We’ve involved our young people at every step of the process – helping to design the layout of the new building, naming the wards and making sure that the environment is as peaceful and welcoming as possible.

“Not only will the new building help us deliver the best possible care to young people in a single facility, but it will also extend our provision from 92 places to 110.

You can read more about the design challenge, its unique features, state of the art facilities and education facilities here.

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