November 8, 2021

Mental and Behavioral Health Expertise Featured in Behavioral Health Business

Mental health has been put in the spotlight as a result of the pandemic, and design of mental health facilities is evolving to consider the full spectrum of patient and staff experience.

Behavioral Health Business, which covers the mental health and addiction recovery industry, spoke with our Shary Adams, co-director of our Mental and Behavioral Health Practice, and Alison Leonard, a design leader in that practice, about what they’re seeing in current projects. Below are some excerpts of their interview in Behavioral Health Business:

  • Shary on the importance of access to nature: “If there’s not [access], that’s inhumane,” she said. “There’s been so much emphasis all around on keeping everyone safe, that many are feeling like they were ‘locked-up,’ and they didn’t like that. Get people outside. Architects must take a totally holistic approach: we need to design better lines of sight, better acoustics, more natural light and provide accessible outdoor rooms for both patients and staff.”
  • Alison on flexible facility design: “Design more for the human experience and consider flexibility to accommodate the needs of different patient types. Providing patients with choice while planning for future facility needs is essential,” she said.
  • Shary on incorporating social distancing in interior design: “We need to rethink the 8-foot-wide halls we’re used to seeing. Instead, create angled and or no corridors, break up the pathway as often as possible. There should be no ‘dead-end’ zones. Let the patients have the option to be able to decide when to come and go, empower the patient to choose, let them avoid confrontations and at the same time increase staff’s ability to see. Provide more personal space; and today, with social distancing, people are more understanding and accepting of that. These design techniques will reduce [individuals’] tension, reduce aggression and create safer, more therapeutic healing environments.”

Learn more about our Mental and Behavioral Health Practice >