The home is an important place in which to address mental health. The decline of both institutional asylums and in-patient mental health care has given way to a transition towards community-based home care. As underserved populations with mental illness continue to face barriers to good, affordable, or sheltered housing, designers and design professionals must consider how to make good housing accessible. In recent months, the home has become the frontline defense against the coronavirus, amplifying the need to ensure equitable access to safe, affordable housing. The Home Panel will begin to redress perceptions of mental health at the most basic scale of the home and will examine the importance of the home for improving mental health outcomes.
Alison Cunningham, Former CEO of Columbus House
Earle Chambers, Epidemiologist
Sam Tsemberis, Pathways Housing First
Jessica Helfand, 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.