One of the topics that comes up frequently in the quarterly Seclusion and Restraint Reduction Leadership Group meeting is how helpful people find a well-designed comfort room. Many Texas facilities, including psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment centers and juvenile detention centers, are converting seclusion rooms to comfort rooms with a variety of objects designed to soothe and relax people who are anxious or upset. These are initially designed with consumers in mind, but staff often request a comfort room of their own.

The New York State Office of Mental Health has developed a guide to creating a comfort room that includes suggestions and a list of appropriate objects. Look at this photo of a comfort room that the Settlement Home for Children in Austin, a member of the Seclusion and Restraint Reduction Leadership Group, has created:

What did it cost to create this soothing space? Not much: just some paint, sweat equity, and a bit of change for some inexpensive objects. These healing spaces can be elaborate or simple, depending on your budget, energy and imagination!

Many families and individuals have realized that having a soothing place at home can also be very important. While we may not have a spare room (but how nice if you do!), we could all find a corner or a cabinet or even a box that can contain a comfort “kit.”  Here is a photo of a “coping cart” that the Settlement Home put together:

Coping Cart

Let us know if you’ve created a comfort space for yourself or others. We’d love to hear more.