Patients of the Behavioral Health Teaching Facility on the University of Washington Medical Center-Northwest campus will get fresh air on sun-drenched terraces and decks (at least in the sunny months), sleep in secured private bedrooms, and spend afternoons in a therapeutic sensory space.
They’ll meet with resident physicians and other medical trainees and staff in spacious treatment areas designed with teaching in mind — many of the state’s next generation of mental health providers will train here.
The new state-backed mental health teaching facility is among several others nationwide ushering in a new era of inpatient mental health treatment — one that uses intentional design to support the therapeutic needs of those in long-term care. Many psychiatric hospitals were retrofitted from buildings never intended to serve psychiatric patients; the tall, brick-walled Western State Hospital, for instance, is on the site of a historic military fort. The hospital lost its federal certification in 2018 and has been plagued by health and safety violations.