Designing Mental Health Services

A review in the Lancet about the design of mental health services. October 2020.

Although there is an increasing amount of literature on the key principles for the design of mental health services, the contribution of the built environment to outcomes for the service user is a largely neglected area. To help address this gap, we present evidence that highlights the pivotal role of evidence-based architectural design in service users’ experience of mental health services. We propose six important design principles to enhance the care of mental health service users.

Drawing on research into the delivery of mental health services and best-practice approaches to their architectural design, we outline a holistic conceptual model for designing mental health services that enhance treatment outcomes and experiences, provide benefits to families and the community, and promote community resilience.

In this Personal View, we argue that the design of mental health services needs to extend across disciplinary boundaries to integrate evidence-informed practice across individual, interpersonal, and community levels.

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