The UK-based Architects’ Mental Wellbeing Forum has published its first toolkit to assist individuals and practices to tackle the all-pervasive problem of mental health issues within architecture schools and practice.
The Architects’ Mental Wellbeing Forum was established in late 2017 by Ben Channon of Assael Architecture, who was troubled by the statistics and his own observations of mental health issues within the profession, and was motivated to do something about it.
“I decided to set up the forum a couple of years ago after seeing quite a few architects go through difficult times. I myself had what I call ‘a wobble’ in my mid-twenties, which I put down mostly to overwork and putting far too much pressure on myself to be perfect. This led to some problems with anxiety, which thankfully I was able to overcome through daily mindfulness and some CBT therapy. I began to realise this was a very common problem within architecture, although not many people were open about it.”
The new Architects’ Mental Wellbeing Toolkit has been developed with the assistance of RIBA, the Architects Benevolent Society and the 12 architectural practices that are members of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum. Topics range from Office Culture and Overtime, Caring for Students in Practice and Contracts and Client Relationships, to Technology, Monitoring Staff Wellbeing and Championing an Active Mindful Approach. Each spread offers tips for practices and tips for individuals, demonstrating that everyone has a role to play in improving workplace culture and health outcomes for all. Links to additional resources are also included throughout.
President of the Architects Benevolent Society and Past President of RIBA, Jane Duncan, encourages practices to put the toolkit to work for the benefit of their employees and the future success of their business. “A well balanced, cared-for and supported staff is happy and productive so there are benefits all round. This practical and well researched Toolkit can provide the vital change needed for architects to deal with the pressures of the 21st century architecture profession which we are all so passionate about. Now let’s get equally passionate about making architecture not only accessible and sustainable as a profession, but welcoming and supportive to everyone. I commend every office to read this without delay.”
Illustration: Siân Rearden