Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Crisis & Critical Care Building and the McCain Complex Care & Recovery Building, the third of four phases of the most ambitious redevelopment in CAMH history is now officially complete.
“These new buildings will revolutionize mental health care by offering dignified spaces for CAMH patients to heal and recover and provide a safe and generative space for CAMH staff to work,” said CAMH CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn.
“They reflect a bold vision and are also a powerful symbol of CAMH’s move away from institutionalization towards community integration for the people we serve.”
The two new buildings, with 600,000 square feet of space, will include 235 inpatient beds. Other enhancements to the Queen Street campus include:
- A state-of-the-art Emergency Department: The only one in Ontario devoted exclusively to mental health treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Twice the size of the previous ED on College Street, it will reduce current wait times in Ontario and provide improved intake, assessment and triage procedures for patients.
- Enhanced therapeutic recovery and healing environment inside and outside the new buildings: A new Tour de Bleu Therapeutic Neighbourhood provides a variety of programming for patients, including a chef school culinary certificate program run by George Brown College. The Therapeutic Art Project, integrated into the design of both new buildings, features the work of visual artists with lived experience of mental illness. The new TD Commons features a lush diversity of trees, shrubs and plants and beautifully lit walking paths for patients and their visiting loved ones to access as part of their recovery. It also acts as a meeting ground where the CAMH community intersects with the surrounding West Queen West neighbourhood.
- Consolidation of education and clinical care to one location
“The McCain Complex Care & Recovery Building and the Crisis & Critical Care Building will transform mental health care by providing patients and families access to an emergency department devoted to mental health and spaces that promote community integration in a connected and coordinated system of care,” said Christine Elliott, deputy premier and minister of health.
“Investing in innovative projects like these two new buildings are an important part of our government’s plan to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system that works for all Ontarians.”
CAMH Peer Support Worker (and former CAMH patient) Sara Traore was one of the many clinicians and lived-experience voices consulted on the creation of the therapeutic indoor and outdoor spaces.
“The space you are in and how you feel about that space matters,” said Traore. “If you are an inpatient you have probably had a lot of trauma past and present in your life. Your environment is everything. If that’s the space where you are going to be coming to terms with your illness and receiving care, a surrounding that you feel at peace in and welcomed in is really key and will help prevent relapse.”