A series of sensory rooms in Maple Ridge that use spinning chairs and weighted blankets to help mental-health patients cope with anxiety and depression is part of a continuity of care model that is the first of its kind in B.C.

MAPLE RIDGE – A series of sensory rooms in Maple Ridge that use spinning chairs and weighted blankets to help mental-health patients cope with anxiety and depression is part of a continuity of care model that is the first of its kind in B.C. By helping people better understand how their senses impact their mood and behaviour, they learn how to either stimulate or calm their senses when they need to improve their state of mind. This is one of the innovative ways Fraser Health is helping to improve the lives of people struggling with mental-health concerns.

“It’s critical that people have access to a full spectrum of connected mental health and addictions supports so they can find the right treatments that will work for them,” said Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA, Lisa Beare. “Sensory rooms are one innovative way people living with mental health challenges can better understand and manage their symptoms.” 

The sensory rooms are located in Ridge Meadows Hospital’s psychiatric unit, the Maple Ridge Mental Health Centre, and Maple Ridge’s Community Services. They offer equipment to help reduce anxiety or improve a patient’s mood if they’re suffering from anxiety or depression. In addition to the spiral chairs, other tools include a projector that displays abstract images in motion and tactile panels and objects that patients can touch.

Patients receiving treatment for mental health concerns can access this innovative service, which opened last fall, in the hospital, as well as when they leave – ensuring continuity of their care. The rooms are designed to facilitate relaxation, calmness and safety. Patients are welcome to use it based on their needs, level of mental health stability and room availability.

“Patients tell us they feel calm, safe and able to focus better after being in the sensory room,” said Dr. Anson Koo, Fraser Health’s program medical director and regional department head for mental health programs. “These sensory rooms are just one of the tools we can use to help people feel better and can be part of an overall plan to give mental-health patients the opportunity to improve resiliency in everyday life, by reducing common issues like anxiety and depression.”

Patients who’ve used the sensory rooms have reported decreased agitation, increased emotional regulation, less anxiety and anger, and better sleep management, as well as increased self-awareness, and the use of fewer sedatives as benefits to using the space.

Funding to develop and maintain the sensory rooms came from th2t864SoRICQe Ridge Meadows Hospital Auxiliary and Pacific Blue Cross.


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