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Mental Health Unit, Whitehorse

  • Location
    Whitehorse, YT
  • Size
    10,000 sq feet


This project is being delivered as a collaboration between Thinkspace and Northern Front Studio. It involves the construction and renovation of approximately 1,150 sq m of programmed space above an existing emergency department. The program includes a 12-bed secure medical unit (SMU) within the existing Level 2 shelled space, and includes the addition of outdoor program space for mental health.

The primary purpose of the project is to implement a culturally appropriate and improved program and space to meet current and future demands in mental wellness care in the Whitehorse region. The integration of Indigenization opportunities is a core component of this project.

Key goals for the project are to:

  • provide culturally appropriate care, including Indigenization opportunities
  • provide a space that supports the projected future volumes and complexity of patient care, which necessitates flexible patient zoning capabilities and treatment spaces
  • establish a secure outdoor space and a First Nations healing space
  • ensure safety and security of patients, staff, physicians and visitors throughout the unit
  • create both treatment and common areas to support daily treatment, activities, and routines for patients
  • provide flexible segregation capabilities to safely and respectfully support a diverse patient population
  • enable flexibility in the use of space to support integration / access with other mental wellness services
  • incorporate a secure off-service space to support staff activities e.g. medication administration and staff breakroom
  • develop a space that is welcoming and non-institutional in feel and appearance

The program planning process included development of Indigenization opportunities, along with detailed program development that takes into account the added functionality that the improved space will provide.