Designing with Empathy

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NABH Annual Meeting
Apr 22, 2019 JJCA Office News

With more and more of JJCA's work involving behavioral healthcare facilities, our attendance at the National Association of Behavioral Healthcare's (NABH) annual meeting this past March was very timely and informative.

An important topic discussed at the meeting that we as architects can appreciate is the high cost of compliance resulting from the Joint Commission's increased scrutiny on prevention of self-harm. An even more important takeaway, however, was echoed by keynote speaker, Emmy-award winning actor and film producer Joe Pantoliano, of Sopranos fame.

As someone who has wrestled with clinical depression, Joe reminded us of just how likely either we or someone very close to us will suffer from mental illness. To quote Joe: 

"They say 1 in 4 people suffers from some sort of mental illness. I say the other 3 don't know how screwed up they really are."

We can appreciate Joe's lighthearted way of conveying a heavy message that illustrates how critical it is that we exercise empathy as we design behavioral facilities that create a safe and healing environment.

NABH is an organization that advocates for behavioral healthcare and represents provider systems that are committed to the delivery of responsive, accountable, and clinically effective prevention, treatment and care for children, adolescents, adults, and older adults with mental and substance use disorders.


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