RTPI highlights link between good planning and mental health

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has today launched a free online training resource to help planners better understand the link between good planning and mental health.

An Introduction to town planning for mental health, neurological and spectrum conditions, released to coincide with World Mental Health Day 2019, emphasises the growing role of town planning in promoting good mental health across all age groups.

Planning practice officer at the RTPI, Sarah Lewis, said: “Over recent years the impact of poor mental health on society has been recognised and there is a clear link between the quality of where people live and their mental health. But there has been little exploration of the impact of good town planning on mental health and very little in the way of inclusion in local planning policy formulation. This resource will introduce planners to the role they can play in addressing these issues.”

The online resource is part of the RTPI’s wider work on health and planning. It follows a CPD event for members in September on planning and mental health and a call for evidence to help inform new advice on overcoming barriers to delivering healthy places. The 30-minute training programme gives an overview of mental health in the UK, the economic and societal impacts of mental health and examples of how planners can make a difference for all age groups.

It also covers progressive neurological disorders, including dementia and spectrum conditions such as autism, which affect large numbers of people and highlights that the built environment can have a significant impact on quality of life for people with these conditions.

In the UK up to a quarter of people experience a mental health problem each year and almost half of all adults will experience at least one mental health episode during their lifetime.

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.

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