Behavioral and mental health (BMH) conditions affect one of five adults in the U.S. each year, and are even more common among patients receiving care for medical conditions. Up to 45% of patients admitted to the hospital for a medical condition or presenting to the emergency department with a minor injury also have a concurrent BMH condition. These BMH comorbidities increase the risk that psychological harm may occur during care. Providing these patients with a healing, therapeutic environment should be an important goal for health design. Design interventions aimed at improving the psychological well-being of patients with BMH comorbidities may be more cost-effective than they initially appear, because they can be leveraged to support improved well-being for other populations as well, including other patients, staff, and visitors.
To assist healthcare organizations, architects, designers, suppliers and others involved in the planning, design and construction of healthcare spaces, The Center has created a Behavioral & Mental Health toolbox containing a library of newly-created and Center staff-curated content - research findings, expert insights, strategies, tools, and other useful resources.
The New Behavioral & Mental Health Toolbox Contains:
Two Issue Briefs and Executive Summaries
- “Design for Behavioral and Mental Health: More than Just Safety”, in this executive summary and issue brief you will learn about the prevalence of behavioral and mental health conditions as comorbidities; design strategies for promoting psychological wellness; and a systematic benefit analysis approach to meet the psychological needs of all.
- "Memory Care: The Intersection of Aging and Mental Health", an executive summary and issue brief, outlines the personal abilities and unique challenges faced by aging individuals, including those living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and how thoughtful design can reduce stress assoiciated with declining physical abilities, memory loss, and care provision.
Five Written Interviews
“Understanding the Unique Design Needs of Behavioral Health Facilities”, an interview with Jim Hunt, reviews why behavioral health facilities have very different design requirements than general hospitals.
“Using the Design Process to Create Safe and Comfortable Behavioral Health Environments”, an interview with Frank Pitts, explores how effective designs can facilitate positive interactions between clinicians and patients.
“Exploring the Relationship Between the Built Environment and Behavioral Health”, an interview with Mardelle Shepley, describes the challenges in identifying best practices in the built environment for behavioral healthcare.
- "The Design of a Psychiatric Clinic in Borås Sweden Strives to Create a 'Healing' Environment", an interview with Stefan Lundin and Cristiana Caira, describes how the built environment should support patients' dignity and independence as part of the recovery process.
- "The Importance of Safety, Comfort, and Design in Behavioral Health Furniture", an interview with Suzanne Fawley
Three Video Interviews with Jeffrey Mural, AIA, EDAC
One Project Brief
- "Innovative Design Consolidates Diverse Behavioral Health Programs into One Comprehensive Center," learn how a county directive to relocate different behavioral health programs into one location led to a unique design for serving low to high-risk populations in an integrated facility, and how collaboration among the architect, interior designer, landscape architect, owner, staff, and clients played an integral role in shaping the programming and design.
Two Design Tools
- "Design for Behavioral and Mental Health: A Universal Approach & Benefit Analysis," this tool will help you consider those broader impacts and incorporate them into an evidence-based process for a universal design approach.
- "Dementia-Supportive Environments: Considerations Tool," explores the understanding the personal abilities and unique challenges faced by aging individuals, especially those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, better equips design teams to create supportive care and living spaces. Changes that can be credited to dementia are noticeably different from the changes typical of normal aging, but both can occur at the same time.
Twenty One Online Courses (EBD Journal Clubs, Webinars, & Podcasts)
- Podcast: "Healthcare Interior Design 2.0 Podcast Episode 21: Suzanne Fawley - Behavioral Health Consultant, Stance Healthcare"
- EBD Journal Club: "An Assessment of Levels of Safety in Psychiatric Units".
- EBD Journal Club: "Designing Clinical Space for the Delivery of Integrated Behavioral Health and Primary Care"
- EBD Journal Club: "Does Space Matter? An Exploratory Study for a Child-Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Unit"
- EBD Journal Club: "Toward a Framework for Designing for Person-Centered Mental Health Interiors for Veterans"
- EBD Journal Club: "Design Research And Behavioral Health Facilities"
- Webinar: “Design Research and Behavioral Health Facilities”
- Webinar: “Designing the Future of Integrated Behavioral Health”
- Webinar: "Safety Risk Assessment 2.0"
- Webinar: "Behavioral Health Behind Closed Doors"
- Webinar: "Safe Emergency Departments through Innovative Design, Technologies and Staffing Considerations"
- Webinar: "Behavioral Health Care Integration: IP, OP, and ED"
- Webinar: "An Unconventional Approach to Integrating Behavioral Health Treatment and Research"
- Webinar: "The Medical Behavioral Unit: Enhancing Patient and Safety Experience Through Design"
- Webinar: "Designing for Adolescents in Mental Health Crisis: A Story of Research, Innovation, and Hope"
- Webinar: "The Building as a Therapeutic Tool: Creating a Children’s Treatment Center"
- Webinar: "Adapting Existing Healthcare Spaces to Suit Behavioral Health Requirements"
- Webinar: "The Spaces In-between: Changing Policy by Design"
- Webinar: " Lighting Design for Behavioral Health Environments"
- Webinar: "Behavioral Health Crisis Stabilization Unit: A Solution to an Overcrowded ED"
- Webinar: "Comprehensive Test Methods for Products in Behavioral Health Environments at the Design in Mental Health Network"
Six EDAC Advocate Firm Case Studies
- Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Healthcare, St. Thomas, Ontario
- The Parkwood Institute Mental Health Building, London, Ontario
- Trinity Rock Island UnityPoint, Rock Island, Illinois
- Children's Hospital of Orange County, Thompson Autism Center, Orange, CA
- William T. Evjue Clinic - Access Community Health Centers, Madison, WI
- Spero Academy, Minneapolis, MN
Behavioral & Mental Health Related Resources, this list of resources is made of up of policies and organizations related to behavioral and mental health. Use this list to learn more about this topic.
- Lessons Learned about Behavioral and Mental Health, this list has been compiled based on research literature, case studies, interviews, and other materials to provide an overview of behavioral and mental health (BMH).
- Aging and Dementia Design Strategies, explores the design-based evidence associated with designing supportive memory care settings results in 12 programmatic design strategies.
Click here to view all Behavioral & Mental Health Toolbox resources