A Path to Mental Health Design

Posted by on Aug 26, 2022 in Behind the Design
A Path to Mental Health Design

Charting a path for mental health design is important because one in five people experience a mental illness and one in twenty experience a serious mental illness. With the number of people who are experiencing mental illness on the rise health care designers need to start thinking about ways to improve the design for mental health patients. To read the full article click here or continue reading this for the highlights.

New Methods in Mental Health Design

Our understanding of mental and behavioral health has grown exponentially in the past decade. With the larger scope of knowledge in the field, patient needs are better understood, and previously unknown needs have been revealed. As a result, new methods are required to design these care environments. (Source)

Evidence and Experience

Hospitals take a diverse approach to each facility because a singular, “one-size-fits-all” approach to designing for behavioral and mental health does not meet each person’s needs. They should strive to build empathy to better understand how the environment impacts each patient who seeks care. Evidence-based design principles, post-occupancy evaluations, and research on the efficacy of our designs at every scale inform each design endeavor and ensure our design intellect grows and evolves in tandem with the field. (Source)

Can Changes Be Made?

There are small changes that can be made to make patients feel more comfortable. For example, a children’s hospital in Cincinnati has redone its behavioral health department. Some of the changes that they made include

  • Comfort zones
  • A lounge, to escape the loud noise
  • Floor-to-Ceiling Windows, allow plenty of light and views of nature
  • Extra Seating, for family members to join their children during treatments
  • Soft Built-in Seating

Another small change that can be made to help make these patients more comfortable is paying attention to color schemes. Some colors make people feel calm while others promote cheer and excitement.

If you liked this article, check out Healthcare Design for Optimal Mental Health, An Expanding Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Health Facility Emphasises Shared Spaces and Biophilic Inspired Design, and The Use of Color in Healthcare Settings Can Impact Mental Health.

Marie Wikoff is the creator of Wikoff Design Studio based out of Reno, Nevada. Her expertise in healthcare design has helped develop modern design for healthcare organizations locally, regionally and internationally. Her credentials include Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC), American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designer (CHID), the National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) and LEED AP. Contact Marie Wikoff

Source: HDR, N/A. “New Methods in Behavioral and Mental Health Care Design.” Behavioral and Mental Health, HDR, 22 July 2019, https://www.hdrinc.com/markets/health/behavioral-mental-health.


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