As coronavirus restrictions ease and the UK gradually emerges from the national lockdown, there are, for many of us, lots of reasons to view the future with great promise and positivity. As we all seek to establish a new normal, it’s important to reflect and recognise what impact the pandemic has had on our individual and collective mental health and wellbeing, and how we can best manage this going forward.
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week (10 to 16 May 2021) we have listed a range of resources for our members. This includes practical guidance and support, as well as articles and initiatives which investigate and discuss the link between good design and mental health and wellbeing.
Supporting mental wellbeing
Join Architects’ Benevolent Society (ABS) and Sarah Gartshore of Bright and Well Yoga for a three part series of digital wellbeing sessions for the architectural community. These sessions will explore practical ways to reduce stress, feeling overwhelmed, and burnout and will focus on how nature can be useful when looking to cultivate a greater sense of wellbeing, and improve mental and physical health. All sessions are 30 minutes and free to attend and include an informative wellness talk, yoga and meditation. Participants can sign up for one individual event or all three. Sessions will take place on Zoom.
How does our profession specifically affect mental health? What have we learned about mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic that we can take back into the workplace? How can we look after our own wellbeing? In this podcast, architects Jane Duncan OBE from Jane Duncan Architects, Priya Aiyer from Mace and Sean Peacock, Head of HR at Stride Treglown, discuss mental health and architectural practice.
Feeling overwhelmed? Karen Fugle, Executive Coach at Sleeping Giant Consulting and host of 2021's Future Leaders conference, provides top tips for taking control of your working week.
Learn to recognise the signs of stress and take back control. Karen Fugle, Executive Coach at Sleeping Giant Consulting, explains how, once you master your stress, it can be useful in small doses.
To help practice leaders support staff, we worked with the Architects’ Mental Wellbeing Forum (AMWF) to create a COVID-19 support toolkit for architects.
There has been a growing recognition of mental health issues in professional environments over the past few years and, encouragingly, more and more employers are aware and understanding of the pressures that mount upon their staff.
If you don't feel comfortable talking to your employer, however, contacting the welfare team at Architects Benevolent Society (ABS) is an alternative route. The ABS gives people a chance to talk about their situation and discuss the next step to accessing help and support confidentially. It has a well established partnership with Anxiety UK that offers mental health support through the charity’s UK wide network of therapists.
Support for students
These downloadable digital resources offer support and guidance for students’ transition from education to practice. These include a mental health and wellbeing guide, where students give their advice and share what do if you need help.
Hosted by students from Nottingham University Architecture Society, this podcast focuses on mental wellbeing while studying architecture. Melissa Kirkpatrick, Part 2 Architectural Assistant, and Ben Channon, RIBA Chartered Architect, former Head of Wellbeing at Assael Architecture, now Director at Ekkist Design Consultancy and Author of Happy by Design, examine factors in education that contribute to poor mental health and how students are affected.
Created in partnership with the Architects Benevolent Society (ABS) this video features a facilitated discussion with a panel of speakers including students, practice leaders, and mental health experts, as they discuss the topic of uncertainty and mental health.
How have architecture students been impacted by the pandemic? In this podcast, a panel of students and architects discuss their experiences and what they think the future holds for the profession and wider world of work.
Designing for wellbeing
Designing buildings for healthy people is innately linked to a prosperous natural environment. We spoke to Elina Grigoriou, interior designer and author of Wellbeing in Interiors: philosophy, design and value in practice, and architect and author of Biomimicry in Architecture Michael Pawlyn on why they both believe this to be the case.
Architect Tomas Gaertner of SE3Design reveals the benefits of detox design and explains the holistic nature of building biology.
Architect Ben Channon talks about how findings from neuroscience and psychology can be incorporated into design choices. A resident’s sense of control over their environment, for example, should be a fundamental consideration for a project: placing the user first should be at the heart of a design.
In the summer of 2020, the RIBA commissioned a survey of 1,500 homeowners, aged 24 to 64, from across the UK to investigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on how people want to live and work at home.
The survey results revealed that homeowners are demanding environmentally efficient properties that better support their new ways of living, as well as their mental health, happiness and family cohesion.