Duty stations and the regulation of space in mental health wards: a South Australian case study
Riggs, Damien Wayne
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This paper reports on a cross-disciplinary pilot study that examined the relationship between architecture and mental health. Drawing upon ethnographic data collected within a purpose-built mental health ward in South Australia, the paper focuses upon the role and use of the duty station in relation to both staff and clients. The findings indicate that duty stations often functioned in problematic ways in terms of surveillance and administration. Specifically, the findings question whether mental health wards can truly promote psychological wellbeing if duty stations solely serve to reinforce power differentials between clients and staff in ways that contribute to the physical gap between these two groups. As such, the findings pave the way towards a clearer understanding of the design needs of mental health clients and clinicians. The paper concludes with suggestions to address the issues raised by the findings.