Mental illness is often left behind closed doors and not discussed in an open forum, Recovery by Design allows a very public and open process of design, which empowers clients to create their own communication, clothing and objects in the middle of a publically accessible studio space. Recovery by Design directly benefits 45-60 RBHA clients, most of whom are experiencing a studio setting and design process for the first time.

RBHA serves almost 10,000 citizens annually representing almost 5% of Richmond’s total population. The majority of the target population identifies as African-American (69%) with 28% identifying as Caucasian. Fifty-four percent of the people served by the RBHA are enrolled in Medicaid, with 20% enrolled in Medicare. The remainder has no insurance and/or no health care benefits. Outreach will be expanded for 2016-2017 in hopes of reaching more RBHA clients and engaging them at different times of the day/week to expand the benefits of this well-received course to more of our underserved Richmond neighbors.

We believe that Design can be implemented as a therapeutic and empowering tool that teaches interpersonal and handcraft skills and works to destigmatize mental illness through social interaction, and we aim to measure its efficacy.