Behavioral health patients who are ready to leave an inpatient facility but aren’t quite ready to move back home don’t have many options.

Last fall, Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, Calif., addressed that issue by opening Hope House, a county-owned crisis residential facility for adults ages 18 to 59.

Mark Tiscornia, principal at HGA Architects & Engineers (San Francisco), which designed the facility, says the goal was to “reduce the stigma associated with mental illness by creating a welcoming environment.”

The 6,859-square-foot facility has a stucco and wood-siding exterior that’s designed to mesh with the surrounding hillside community. Inside there are nine single and double bedrooms, a group room, kitchen, library, and administrative spaces, pocket seating areas, and patio access.

"A challenge was to provide communal spaces that allow privacy and intimacy when necessary, but also accommodate group activity," Tiscornia says. "We created pockets of flexible, various-scaled indoor and outdoor communal spaces conducive to different healing activities to help adult patients feel they can control their own environment."

Safety measures are designed to support those in transition and include 24/7 monitoring systems, door alarms, and tamper-proof hardware on desks, doors, showers, and lighting.

Tiscornia says the average patient stay is 30 days. During that time, they can access supervised assessments, individual and group treatment, peer counseling, medication evaluation, life-skills training, and links to community services.