Architecture concepts can boost mental health


Do you or someone you know suffer from a mental illness? During National Public Health Week recently, we were reminded that most Americans do. Architects are rethinking how their building designs influence the health and well-being of people and are developing designs for mental health as well as for safety and physical wellness. By applying therapeutic design concepts to the built environment, it is possible to improve mental health of occupants. We can create communities that contribute to the prevention and control of an illness labeled as the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to National Institute of Mental Health.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.