Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 05, 2016 (SKNIS): The healing process at the new Mental Health Day Treatment Centre, which was opened on Monday (December 05), will be greatly aided by the natural environment which studies suggest can be beneficial in treating patients.

The new 3,000 square foot facility, which is the first of its kind in St. Kitts and Nevis, is situated on one acre of land at Lime Kiln Commercial Development. Consultant, Calvin Pemberton, said that the design of the building incorporates adequate lighting, eliminates environmental stressors and also factors in security, safety, observation, avoidance of visual disturbance, color, group interaction and access to nature.

A Stanford-led study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in 2015 showed that “accessible natural areas may be vital for mental health.” The local Mental Health Day Treatment Centre takes advantage of the fertile land.

“The garden courtyard model facility offers access to external open spaces and paved walks,” Mr. Pemberton said. During these walks, clients can enjoy the shade and atmosphere of calm from the many trees on the property including mango, coconut, pomegranate, papaya, avocado, and sour-sop. The facility also boasts views of the ocean in the south and the scenery of the lush mountains in the north.

“The predominantly blue building facade is beneficial in making users feel calm [and] is complimented by brighter colours which are less arousing,” Mr. Pemberton added. “The colours as applied are to greatly assist in orientation and can be used as part of the way finding strategy.”

Inside the structure, there is a public zone and an authorized client private zone. The public area features a psychologist occupational therapy office, an open occupational therapy room, a lounge/waiting area, a group counseling room, and office space for nurses, a doctor and social worker. The private section features separate restrooms for staff and clients, gender specific sanitization and strong rooms, storage room, staff kitchenette, client kitchen and dining rooms, a laundry room and janitorial closet.

The project was co-funded by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Caribbean Development Bank through the Basic Needs Trust Fund at a cost of EC$1.3 million.