Touchstone Mental Health Rising Cedar Apartments is a new living and wellness building in Seward that is designed to help people living with mental illness overcome significant obstacles – housing instability, isolation and unemployment, and a life expectancy that is 25 years less than the general population. The building is home to both Rising Cedar Apartments and a Community Health and Wellness Center, and it takes a holistic approach to the care of people living with mental illness.
From the outset the project has been unique, explained Touchstone’s senior director Jessica Ryan. An advisory committee of nearly 150 people with mental illness helped design elements of the building. “We asked clients for key feedback around what defines a home for them,” she said. “Clients have been in and out of hospitals, state shelters, and some have been homeless so it was really important to get feedback. We want this to be their home, not a transitional place of living.”
One of the elements that came out of the process was the building’s pitched roof – a design feature not found on other buildings in the vicinity. The advisory committee also said that it was important for the building to have two entrances – one for the Rising Cedar Apartments and one for the Community Health and Wellness Center – as a way to keep their home separate from the Wellness Center, which is open to the community. Touchstone also learned that providing an open grassy area and garden were important to people. “When we asked clients when was the last time they had been barefoot in grass, no one could remember,” said Ryan. The open lawn will give people the chance to experience something as seemingly simple as a walk through the grass.
Healing garden at Rising Cedar Apartments and Wellness Center.
The Touchstone building is home to 40 apartments specifically designed for people living with mental illness and a Wellness Center for residents and members of the community. Having both buildings under one roof will provide clients with unique access to mental and physical care.
“The idea behind the center came from the idea that people with severe mental illness on average die 25 years earlier than the general population,” said Ryan. “When you see that people are dying 25 years early, it’s not necessarily because of their mental health illness, but its because of other chronic medical conditions.” To meet these medical needs, the wellness center offers a holistic and integrated approach to health and physical wellness such as yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, and classes on topics such as diabetes control and heart health. It also has a fitness area with exercise equipment and trainers.
Rising Cedar Apartments came out of a low income tax housing credit and a partnership between Touchstone Mental Health and Project Pride and Living.
Touchstone is hosting a grand opening celebration for the Rising Cedar Apartments and Community Health and Wellness Center this afternoon (9/19) from 3 – 5 p.m.
Touchstone Mental Health and the Rising Cedar Apartments are located at 2312 Snelling Avenue, Minneapolis. Touchstone Mental Health inspires hope, healing, and well-being.
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