This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week. With 1 in 3 students suffering from mental health issues, now seems a good time to look at the basics. As landlords, designers or developers – what can we do to enhance and inspire student wellbeing?
If the past year has shown us anything, it’s that our space and surroundings matter. Where we work, eat, relax, socialise: it all has an impact on how we feel and our mental health.
What has become clear as a result of the restrictions is the absolutely essential nature of the four quadrants of wellbeing. Our mental and physical wellbeing was suddenly being tested in new ways. Suddenly, how our homes are configured, the spaces available to us, both inside and out, have never been so in the spotlight and crucial to our wellbeing.
• Focus: Our sense of purpose in life, and our opportunity to pursue it.
• Fitness: Our physical health.
• Friendship: The positive relationships we enjoy.
• Finance: The degree of control we have over our finances, and the freedom from financial stresses.
Where we live has a huge impact on these elements, especially for students at university who are already under so much pressure to perform well academically to achieve a successful career whilst going through major life changes with many living away from home for the first time. Some even from different countries and continents.
What students need is support. Support from their parents, lecturers, friends, family, universities, and from us. As student landlords and property developers, we see FAT Properties as so much more than an accommodation provider.
That’s why FAT Properties are committed to designing student homes with wellbeing at the heart of every decision we make.
Proven to enhance positive emotions, restore focus, inspire productivity and be generally great for wellbeing, connecting with nature is one of our fundamental design principles for designing happy and healthy student homes. It is also coincidentally the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021.
We spend on average spending 90% (most probably more during the past year!) – so incorporating nature into our homes is one of the best ways to create a happy and healthy space.
Here are some practical tips you can implement today, in your own home or next project:
• Choose locations with views of or access to open green spaces.
• Plan layouts to maximise natural daylight – locate desks and dining tables close to windows where possible.
• Include indoor plants where practical – real or artificial.
• Include natural and tactile materials – stone, wood, brick, natural fabrics where practical.
• Invest in outdoor spaces – public spaces (in PBSA developments), gardens, and yards.
Combined with our five other design principles (read more about these in our book ‘Designed for Wellbeing’), connecting to nature is an essential part of human wellbeing.
FAT Student home
Coming out of (hopefully the last!) lockdown, it is imperative we continue to acknowledge the importance of supporting our students and young people through the choices and decisions we make as landlords and developers. More than ever, it is imperative we strive to make a positive difference.
Useful links to share:
- CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
Support to anyone who is feeling down and needs to talk or find information.
Help and support for young people by the UK’s leading mental health charity for children and young people.
Text YM to 85258
A 24/7 UK text messaging service for anyone who feels they need immediate support.
Text SHOUT to 85258
Philippa and Tom Charrier are founders of FAT Properties. FAT Properties was created to make a positive impact on the world through property development. FAT Properties create exemplary student homes designed for wellbeing.
Philippa and Tom have a 20 years of combined experience in the built environment, working on high profile urban regeneration projects. They understand the impact that the built environment has on people’s behaviour, mood and mental wellbeing.
FAT Properties is pioneering wellbeing led design in property development and transforming the student property market. Philippa and Tom authored the Amazon #1 bestseller ‘Designed for Wellbeing https://amzn.to/3nrzW0v. They are hosts of their brand new podcast Designed for Wellbeing https://wavve.link/DesignedForWellbeingPodcast
They work with investors to build long term wealth whilst delivering a positive social impact.