Physical-environment Qualities of Supported-housing Facilities for People with Severe Mental Illness
Journal article, 2014
The physical environment of supported-housing facilities (SHF) for people with severe mental illness has mainly been investigated in terms of neighborhood quality and community integration, largely neglecting the design of housing attributes. This study investigated whether SHFs with high and low levels of physical-environment quality differed in their support of users' (residents and staff) needs, which were operationalized in terms of perceived visual pleasantness, homelikeness, and positive psychosocial processes. The perception of supportive characteristics in 20 SHFs was assessed by SHF residents (n = 72), SHF staff (n = 117), a user-group panel (n = 3), and environmental psychologists (n = 5). The results showed that SHFs with "high" environmental quality - characterized by features such as clear demarcation between the spaces, suitable facilities, and proximity to green environments - did a better job of supporting users' needs. Users and experts perceived physical-environment qualities in largely the same way The implications of these findings are important for those with severe mental illness, as the findings emphasize the relevance of physical-environment quality in SHFs for users' well-being.