Key Dates

9 December 2021 - Launch Deadline
17 March - Standard Deadline
16 June - Extended Deadline
21 June - Judging
7 July - Winners Announced
9 August - Awards Presentation

Designing a centre that gives immediate mental health crisis support [DRAFT]



Project Overview

We worked with Neami to bring an evidence-based and user-led service model to life through thoughtful brand and experience design. The Urgent Mental Health Care Centre is the first of its kind in Australia and provides a proof-of-concept on how urgent mental health care can be fairer and kinder.

Project Commissioner

Neami National

Project Creator



Bec Mercer, Jacob Zinman-Jeanes, Leo Beganov, Mark Dohnt, Suzannah Ahearn, Sam Mackisack.
de.co were integral in implementing the brand locally with Neami.

Project Brief

Australia is experiencing an unprecedented rise in mental illness, with approximately one in five Australians aged 16–85 experiencing a mental disorder in the previous 12 months.

Neami National in partnership with SA Health and RI International were about to launch an Australian first urgent mental health centre in Adelaide. It would provide an alternative to the hospital emergency department for those experiencing a mental health crisis.

We worked with Neami to bring an evidence-based and user-led service model to life through thoughtful brand and experience design.

Project Innovation/Need

We synthesised existing co-design research to create an experience strategy for the centre from the help seeker's perspective.

We then mapped out what the experience could look, feel and sound like. This included concepts for branding, guidelines around communications and recommendations for the layout and furnishings of the space itself.

The project gave form to Neami's vision of providing people experiencing a mental health crisis a caring, safe and inclusive alternative to visiting an Emergency Department. By harnessing effective brand and physical experience design we were able to create a consistent experience that supports the service goals of the centre.

Design Challenge

Through developing the centre's brand and detailing the visual and experiential expression of that brand, we supported Neami to build a space that feels welcoming and supportive to all who walk through its doors. It is a backdrop to the peer-led and clinical service that supports the recovery journey of those experiencing a mental health crisis.

The Urgent Mental Health Care Centre is the first of its kind in Australia and provides a proof of concept on how urgent mental health care can be fairer, kinder and more effective.

The centre’s experience is based on an innovative model of mental health care called ‘the living room model’. It’s the first of its kind in Australia, and one of only a few in the world. The brand and space are manifestations of this difference in how the centre approaches care and how people can expect an experience that is fundamentally counter to one they might fear or avoid. The space and brand are designed to fall into the background of a person’s experience of care: to create a supportive, pragmatic and warm environment.


This is a hugely important and impactful initiative, the Urgent Mental Health Crisis Centre in the Adelaide CBD offers an alternative to the emergency department for people experiencing an acute mental health crisis. Visitors are greeted by someone with lived experience and after a short-term stay will leave with a co-designed mental health care plan.

Our work on the physical space and brand identity provide a crucial entry point, tone-setting and background to someone’s journey with the centre.

Guests fill in a feedback form at the end of each visit and the results are anonymised, recorded and shared for future improvements and learning.

Some recent guest feedback includes:
“I was not expecting the help I got today. I feel so much better coming here, and felt so comfortable talking with [staff] and felt supported.”

“You welcomed us with open arms, and our family felt listened to and given helpful support and information. My son is taking small and positive steps forward, one day at a time. We have a long road ahead of us but the knowledge that you are there is so comforting. The paramedics who initially attended were wonderful, and I am so thankful that they recommended your service.”

This award celebrates creative and innovative design in the traditional or digital visual representation of ideas and messages. Consideration given to clarity of communication and the matching information style to audience.
More Details