Resilient and Dignified Design for Behavioral Health Spaces [HSW]

Innovative behavioral health interiors incorporate enlightened design to achieve net-zero-readiness and advance equity, while adhering to the highest standards of material health, and safety. The challenges and pressures of designing at the intersection of healthcare, sustainability, and DEI efforts can seem insurmountable. Yet Brockton Behavioral Health Center (BBHC) proves that behavioral healthcare facility design can push the envelope in multiple directions while serving a vulnerable healthcare population with dignity and empathy. Join Tracey Weeden, Director of BBHC, Nancy Hanright, Senior Director at Boston Medical Center, Nicole Voss, Director of Sustainability at isgenuity, and Sarah Lueck, Project Designer, as they discuss the project's goals, successes and challenges over a year after opening. In October 2022, Boston Medical Center opened the BBHC in response to an overwhelming need for behavioral inpatient care in Massachusetts. The ongoing mental health crisis deteriorates the collective welfare of communities and support networks, especially those whose social fabric was stretched thin by the pandemic. The facility's design prioritizes resilience, flexibility, dignity, and safety for both patients and staff. Staff expertise guided every aspect of the design, yielding an effective treatment environment that improves staff support, retention, and well-being. Biophilic, evidence-based interior design brings the outside indoors to elevate user experience. Natural (and nature-inspired) redlist-free materials, alongside plant installations and uplifting color palettes, create a calming and restorative atmosphere to both patients and staff. Acknowledging that climate change disproportionately impacts the most disadvantaged communities, BMC minimized the project's environmental impact: this net-zero-ready facility operates at an industry-leading 46 EUI. To have a significant and lasting impact on the community, the facility is positioned to be an adaptable, and reliable resource in the face of both climate change and evolving treatment needs. Inspired design ethos, forward-thinking sustainability measures, and community equity set the facility and its community up for resilient futures.

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