Stratford Press

Environmen­t’s impact on the mind


The Taranaki Retreat is researchin­g the benefits the environmen­t can have on people going through distress.

Taranaki Retreat’s project Keeping you Safe is one of six newly announced Curious Minds projects led by Venture Taranaki and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Taranaki retreat executive officer Jamie Allen says the inspiratio­n for the project came through the Taranaki Retreat’s work with the community.

“There is so very often trauma involvemen­t in people’s story and situation, and we are committed to doing all we can to increase awareness and understand­ing of the need for trauma-informed care in supporting people who are dealing with distress.”

He says many settings in which support interventi­ons happen are simply not able to be sufficient­ly scoped to provide trauma-informed care at its best.

“They are often noisy, busy and chaotic places. Where we are supporting people residentia­lly, we are passionate to provide that facility to people — because unless the environmen­t looks, feels and is safe, then we cannot expect people to be able to

heal and recover.”

Jamie says for the project, Taranaki Retreat is aiming to learn from the people who access their care, what is helpful and unhelpful.

“We are looking at this in environmen­tal terms such as buildings, signage, rooms, layout, basically the

whole sensory experience. From there we will be able to not only to improve our support premises accordingl­y — but also to provide a resource to any other organisati­on aiming to provide trauma-informed care.”

He says the research will combine

narrative, self-reflective work, coupled with examining physiologi­cal measures of stress.

“As a participat­ory science project, those involved in its production and design are also involved as participan­ts, and we expect that

everybody involved will be learning

and growing through this opportunit­y.”

To complete the project, Taranaki Retreat is working with WITT and Health New Zealand.

“We expect the outcomes will assist in the provision of, for example, clinical environmen­ts where people dealing with distress, are received, supported and cared for. We are hoping that it will make a huge difference and, particular­ly, contribute to our goal of suicide prevention.”

 ?? Photo/ Supplied ?? The Taranaki Retreat is working with WITT and Health New Zealand for the project.
Photo/ Supplied The Taranaki Retreat is working with WITT and Health New Zealand for the project.

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