Beyond the Visible: Space, Place, and Power in Mental Health
Mindy Thompson Fullilove
The Social and Ecological Aspects of the Psychology of Place
The goal of this year’s J. Irwin Miller Symposium at the Yale School of Architecture is to make designers and practitioners aware of their capacity to improve access to and perceptions of mental health. Throughout the month of September, the symposium will virtually convene a series of discussions with the goal of building collective capacity in improving access to mental health services and destigmatizing perceptions of mental health embedded in the built environment.
The global pandemic has only amplified the personal, social, and economic costs on mental illness, and has highlighted the need to consider the intersection of racial and economic inequality with mental health. The systemic violence inflicted on BIPOC communities brought to light during the global anti-racism protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd underscores the urgency to change the systems that inflict racial trauma. Design practitioners, therefore, have the responsibility to examine and reevaluate existing forms of community and care.
The symposium will explore issues of mental health at three scales: the hospital, the home, and the city. In engaging an interdisciplinary team to examine these themes, we might begin to understand how we can gain agency to influence practices surrounding mental health.
This inaugural Yale Mental Health Symposium is part of a long-term initiative at Yale, building on the work of the Yale Mental Health Colloquium which took place in 2019.
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, LFAPA, Hon AIA, is a social psychiatrist and professor of urban policy and health at The New School. Since 1986, she has conducted research on AIDS and other epidemics of poor communities, with a special interest in the relationship between the collapse of communities and decline in health.