Designing the Future of Integrated Behavioral Health


Behavioral health covers a wide range of settings which may include psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric units in the general hospital environment, alcohol and addiction treatment facilities, behavioral health clinics, and emergency departments with psychiatric specialty. It is a diagnosis that covers a wide range of the population including children and adolescents, adults and the elderly, as well as members of the military. Diagnoses vary widely and can include depression, anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, dementia, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse. As a result, design for facilities to care for this patient-type is complex, with specific concerns not typically encountered in most healthcare design.

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.