The traditional model of mental health and addiction rehabilitation treatment that kept patients shuttered away from the community is an outdated model that created a negative stigma around patients and wasn’t all that successful at rehabilitation.
Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), standing on grounds that have been occupied by mental health facilities for more than 160 years, no longer operates as a silo gated off from its surroundings. As architecture critic Christopher Hume says, the new CAMH campus brings a sense of normalcy to treatment by creating an area that “could be in almost any other part of the city.”
The 27 acre grounds have opened up to the city to become part of the residential environment. The goal was not to look like a hospital, but to weave itself into the fabric of the community by offering services like a street side cafe that doubles as a client training centre, a public gymnasium, and a gallery to showcase the art therapy program. Operating under the recovery model of care, CAMH has blurred the lines between public and treatment space so clients can transition back into the community and thrive.