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World Mental Health Day

woman sitting in a green space

Today is World Mental Health Day. In an effort to support and raise awareness of mental health issues, the IDEA Center would like to highlight a research project by our own Krista Macy, Architectural Research Associate. The findings from her master’s thesis (2017) provide valuable insights on how to incorporate Universal Design in an inpatient psychiatric care setting.

Universal Design (UD) is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation.  The Goals of Universal Design© define the outcomes of UD practice in ways that can be measured and applied to all design domains within the constraints of existing resources. They encompass functional, social, and emotional dimensions. Each goal is supported by an interdisciplinary knowledge base (e.g., anthropometrics, biomechanics, perception, cognition, safety, health promotion, social interaction). Thus, the Goals can be used effectively as a framework for both knowledge discovery and knowledge translation for practice.

Storyboard showing plan drawing highlighting specific green space features

Inpatient psychiatric care settings and meeting the Goals of Universal Design

  • Body fit: Adjustable height raised garden bed.
  • Comfort: Variety of bench heights in the common space/courtyard.
  • Wellness: Views to the outdoors from all areas in the care unit.
  • Awareness: Circular or loop, floor plan.
  • Understanding: Clearly operable windows and window treatments.
  • Social Integration: Cooperative gardening and Socio-petal furniture layouts.
  • Cultural Appropriateness: Patient freedom to move around the space.
  • Personalization: Private rooms allowing for personalization
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