Life can be difficult. When people reach their lowest point, when they feel broken and faced with darkness, they need hope, encouragement and a haven for health and healing.

 

Healing Space

For more than 30 years, the skilled inpatient mental health practitioners at the Miller-Dwan Building of Essentia Health-Duluth (formerly Miller-Dwan Medical Center), have helped guide the people of our region back to wholeness.

Today, while still providing the same great care, Essentia Health is recognizing a new dawn in the provision of state-of-the-art psychiatric services. With support from the Miller-Dwan Foundation, plans are underway to fully renovate and expand the hospital’s adult inpatient psychiatric unit.

The adult inpatient psychiatric unit was originally created as a medical surgical unit. Last remodeled in the 1960s, it reflects that era’s focus on locked-down seclusion and security. There is no artwork, no color, and there are few amenities. In the past, only specially trained individuals were allowed on the floor, and family members weren’t encouraged to visit. This is no longer the case.

Awareness and knowledge about mental health issues have grown over the years and, as a result, mental health centers have come a long way from the days when security and durability governed their design. A greater understanding of patient needs and better design principles now point to improved amenities that empower and engage patients and families. Reflecting the “healing space philosophy” intentionally engendered by the Miller­Dwan Foundation, the new space will be open, fresh and cheerful, taking advantage of natural light and the scenic views of Lake Superior.

“Providing a healing environment is integral to the overall care we provide,“  says Lainie Janke, Clinical Supervisor of Essentia Health Inpatient Behavioral Health.” Healing, by definition, means to make whole. All parts, including the environment, work together to create optimal healing for our patients.”

Unfortunately, the national mental health care system offers little incentive for facility improvements. Only with sufficient funding can critical amenities like exercise space, a spiritual center, flexible activity spaces, a resource center and family areas be included in the overall plan.

A gift to the Miller-Dwan Foundation will help create the state-of-the-art environment that patients deserve: a space that offers every opportunity to heal, Sometimes it’s hard to believe that things can get better, but they can. With your help, we will make it happen.

“The renovation of the inpatient psychiatric unit reflects Miller-Dwan Foundation’s ongoing and proven commitment to a continuum of high-quality mental health care for the people of our region,” says Traci Marciniak, Miller-Dwan Foundation President. “A fresh new look, coupled with therapeutic activities and family-friendly gathering areas, will not only assist the healing process, but also help create a destigmatized, compassionate and empowering environment that symbolizes and supports a new era in behavioral healthcare.”

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