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:
An Issue Brief and Executive Summary
“Design for Behavioral and Mental Health: More than Just Safety”, an executive summary and issue brief, provides design strategies for promoting psycholgical wellness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the spectrum of behavioral and mental health, (BMH), conditions includes anxiety, attention deficit disorders, autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and suicide, among others. 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 of psychological harm associated with care.
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
Universal Approach Tool
Design for Behavioral and Mental Health: A Universal Approach & Benefit Analysis
Design interventions to improve well-being for patients with behavioral and mental health (BMH) conditions will often have impacts on other populations, as well (e.g., staff, visitors, non-BMH patients who use the same facility). This tool will help you consider those broader impacts and incorporate them into an evidence-based process for a universal design approach.
Fourteen Online Courses (EBD Journal Clubs & Webinars)
- 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"
Three 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
Click here to view all Behavioral & Mental Health Toolbox resources
For the latest research, physical design strategies and methodologies that support improved care for behavioral health, join us
for "Behavioral Health—Strategic Facility Design Innovations that Improve Treatment Outcomes, Safety and the Bottom Line Workshop"