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Reducing Injury and Harm in Behavioral & Mental Health Settings

February 2019
Design Strategies

The following design solutions are a brief summary of the content found in Reducing Injury and Harm: An Issue Brief on Safety for Behavioral & Mental Health. They are organized by building design category.

Site Optimization

  • Ensure that exterior areas accessible to the unit or patients are well-lit.
  • Secure the outdoor perimeter in a manner appropriate for the population served, and consider exterior fences and walls designed to mitigate elopement.
  • Select and design exterior landscaping to mitigate the risk of elopement through access to roofs, fences, or walls.
  • Design exterior landscaping to allow visibility and surveillance by staff where patients have outdoor access to detect and mitigate patient self-harm and elopement.
  • Select non-toxic exterior (and interior) landscaping to preclude the use of landscaping features (e.g., branches) as weapons.
  • Provide visual and/or physical access to nature for patients, where possible, as appropriate for...  


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