Providing Expert Perspective on Behavioral Health Design

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JJCA and Jefferson University at Belmont Behavioral Hospital
Oct 22, 2020 JJCA Lessons Learned

Using the Acadia-Belmont Behavioral Hospital as an example site for the study of behavioral health design, students from an interior design class from Jefferson University in Philadelphia were recently led on a tour of the facility by JJCA's David Brown and Michael Speck. The class is focusing, in particular, on designing for clients in the autism spectrum.

JJCA's massive, multi-phase master plan for Belmont has been underway for several years, with April 2021 as the target date for completion. During the tour, David and Michael spoke to students at length about the objective of reducing the stigma long associated with behavioral health. For example, outdoor spaces, including a park, provide community connectivity as well as inviting areas for patient therapy and recreation. Additionally, balancing safety with comfort and empathy is achieved through design strategies including open work spaces for clinical care teams and detailing hardware to reduce self-harm.

With more than 200 behavioral health projects completed in 30 states and Puerto Rico, JJCA has excellent credentials to provide an expert perspective. Students were given hospital floor plans in advance to familiarize themselves with the building before being treated to their firsthand perspective from David and Michael.

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