Designing Halfway Homes in India

a brown bird house hangs in a background of trees and leaves

According to Section 19 (3) of The Mental Healthcare Act-2017, halfway homes have to be less restrictive for people who no longer require treatment in more restrictive mental health establishments.

K.Shiva Shanker. Halfway homes should be unrestricted spaces: activists. 18th July 2019.

As consultations start over the building of halfway homes for those who are ready to leave the confines of institutional care but are not yet skilled to live independently it is time to look at how these homes ought to be designed. The above article in The Hindu looks at some of the concerns of mental health activists and how they see halfway home living.

Here’s a link to The Banyan’s work on inclusive living options that has been designed keeping in mind user needs coupled with concepts of self reliance, dignity and community living.

Kingsley Hall. London. By Gordon Joly – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=646028

This reminds me of the work of the psychiatrist R.D.Laing who was seen as the father of the anti-psychiatry movement in London, although it was not a label he was comfortable with. An interesting experiment he did was to have a home for those with psychiatric illnesses which also housed the psychiatrists. This was created in 1965 in London’s Kingsley Hall as an attempt to dismantle the inherent power vested in the psychiatrist. An attempt to create a space where each learned from the other without recovery being a one way, top down, pharma driven street. It was radical then and would be considered completely militantly radical if ever attempted in India today!

Photo courtesy Harmen Jelle van Mourik on Unsplash

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