The built form of the psychiatric hospital signals how society responds to mental health. These buildings have the ability to create positive reflections or conjure images of the mental health institution as a figure of ‘Otherness.‘ Among BIPOC communities, mental health care is frequently limited and commonly linked to detention orders requiring hospital stays. The Hospital Panel will imagine progressive models that dismantle prevalent perceptions of mental health and improve equitable access and experiences of clients inhabiting these architectures.
Kelechi Ubozoh, Writer and Mental Health Advocate
Christian Karlsson, Architect
Martin Voss, Physician
Jason Danziger, Architect
Matthew Steinfeld, Moderator
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.