Ipswich Hospital leads the way in mental health treatment

West Moreton Health in Ipswich, Australia, is set to make a dramatic difference to the recovery of its rapidly growing community with the new AU$91m Ipswich Hospital Acute Mental Health Unit.

The purpose-built facility will include 50 beds and provide an environment that is responsive to people accessing mental health care/​treatment, uses emerging models of care, and innovative technologies, including Queensland’s first-of-its-type integrated mental health assessment centre. 

Developing the business case concept, the Hassell-led team has produced a design that integrates architecture, landscape architecture and interior design to reflect West Moreton Health’s vision of establishing a healing environment for mental health that nurtures wellbeing and mindfulness.



The design team worked closely with users of the facility to create a design that responds to the need for highly functional, adaptive recovery that is as unique as each consumer, blending outdoor spaces and natural views with the interiors.

Stephen Watson Hassell Associate and Project Leader

Consumer accommodation is positioned around connected landscaped courtyards allowing light filled recovery spaces to flow together with outside views. Careful detailing of fixed joinery allows clinical staff to be stationed within these day spaces, and bedrooms were designed with integrated services in mind to provide a safe, yet homely environment. 

The multi-level unit has been shaped to stitch into its residential setting through use of fine detailing and warm natural tones along with features such as architectural sun-shading to improve the building’s thermal performance, while also enhancing privacy for consumers and neighbouring residents.

Hassell Health Sector Leader, Leanne Guy, who recently published an article on how designers balance form and function while prioritising consumer and staff safety in mental health design, said the design aligns with a person-centred and recovery-orientated care approach while reducing the stigma of mental healthcare.

One in four people are affected by mental health in their lifetime, according to estimates from the World Health Organisation,”

Leanne Guy Hassell Health Sector Leader

The new unit at Ipswich hospital will play a positive role in Queensland’s mental healthcare by creating a contemporary, safe and welcoming environment for wellness and recovery, and includes the use of nature and space.”

The Ipswich Hospital Acute Mental Health Unit forms part of the first stage of West Moreton Health’s 15-year Master Plan to respond to the future healthcare needs of the region.