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Innovative updates to mental health care design guidelines 

The Mental Health – Overarching Guideline, part of the Australasian Health Facility Guidelines (AusHFG), outlines generic planning and design requirements for mental health inpatient units, intended to complement service specific Health Planning Unit (HPU) documents.   

The updated guideline, HPU 131 Mental Health - Overarching Guideline (Revision 2.0, January 2024), incorporates feedback from experts across Australia and New Zealand and those with lived mental illness experience.   

Key updates include revised planning and design principles, a stronger emphasis on collaboration with individuals with lived experience, updated terminology to support therapeutic and recovery-oriented care, and a focus on risk assessment.   

The guideline includes updated information relating to the design of outdoor spaces, the role of art in therapeutic environments and the need to accommodate families and cultural considerations.   

The AusHFG are developed by the Australasian Health Infrastructure Alliance (AHIA), a collaboration of public health authorities across all Australian jurisdictions and New Zealand, and are administered by NSW Health Infrastructure as the lead agency.  

For more information, visit the AusHFG website.  

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