The mental anidote: an alternative approach to a mental health facility in Greyton

Ngubo, Sandile
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This research report aims to investigate alternative methods to mental health treatment in combination with western methods of treatment. Current psychiatric facilities and their architecture are to be investigated, with issues identified and addressed architecturally within the new building. Traditional healing is to be investigated and incorporated as method of alternative treatment. This will lead into an investigation into how architecture and traditional healing can work together.The year 2020 has proven to nations worldwide how important healthcare is.One of the issues that have escalated as a result of the global pandemic is mental health. Often overlooked, but the South African Depression and Anxiety Group states that one in six South Africans suffers from anxiety, depression or substance-use problems. The World Health Organization states that depression is one of the leading causes of disability and suicide is one of the leading causes of death among 15-to-29- year olds. WHO further states that many mental health issues can be taken care of at low cost, yet there is a large gap between people who need the help and those who can afford it. This is one of the issues that this intervention and research aims to address so that access can be easily available to most people. Further to be investigated is the psychological impact that architecture can have on mental health patients. This research report aims to explore the relationship between mental health and the architectural spaces created for the treatment of mental health, investigate alternative ways of treating mental health within built spaces and explore the psychological effect that principles applied in architecture can induce positive effects on mental health patients. This research focuses on Greytown in KwaZulu Natal, which serves many small and rural communities around it. The town currently has no psychiatric wards and all mental health patients have to be transferred to either Durban or Pietermaritzburg. Consideration is to be taken over people’s beliefs. There is a stigma when it comes to mental health and its treatment, therefore this report aims to investigate the possibility of incorporating various forms of possible treatment within the building.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional) to the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022