Visualizing Mental Health

Visual Design, Layout, Data Vis, Web Design, Photography, Deck Design

Visualizing Mental Health: Communicating the Austin State Hospital System Redesign


The Design Institute for Health is working with the Austin State Hospital and Health and Human Services to redesign the future building, along with the services surrounding mental health. For such a large, complicated project with a stigmatized, abstract topic, we needed to visually communicate what we learned through research and our future plans for the building and services.


Date: 2016 - ongoing

Project Background: (via “The Texas Legislature invested $300 million during the 85th legislative session for improvements to the state’s psychiatric hospitals. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) contracted with the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin (Dell Med) to lead a collaborative, $15.5 million preplanning and planning process to redesign the Austin State Hospital (ASH), a facility that serves 38 counties for adults, 57 counties for adolescents, and 75 counties for children.

ASH Brain Health System Redesign (ASH Redesign) is a unique opportunity to reimagine not just a hospital, but also the entire continuum of care for brain health. Using a patients-first approach, the ASH Redesign aims to optimize the overall operational budget through efficiencies that serve more people per tax dollar by delivering the right care at the right time in the right place. Dell Med’s primary task in the preplanning and planning effort is to deliver a master plan and recommendation for the Austin State Hospital to HHSC in advance of the 86th Legislative Session in order to secure support and funding for the next phases of the project.”

Design: Visual design, layout design, data vis, web design, photography, deck design

Role: Visual Designer.
Most of the Design Institute was/is on this project.

Press: KXAN (exhibit)

Community Impact: (presentation)


This project is still ongoing, and you can read our report at

My work in this project includes: an accessible report for HHSC, visualizing the continuum of mental health, digitizing the report into a website, and creating an exhibit for visitors to learn about the project.


Report (view online pdf) and Website

Basing my visual decisions off of UT Health Austin’s brand guidelines, I created a visual system for charts, tables, and type hierarchy throughout the report. I made sure the content was digestible enough for our audience to be able to run through the lengthy report quickly, without it feeling too dense or overwhelming, yet I kept it looking credible and official.

For all writers of the report to be able to give feedback on, and put content in, I was limited to creating the report in Microsoft Word.

For the website, there were various people involved with tweaking content, so SquareSpace was used. The goal was to have the website separated into chapters so the user could jump around and easily read the content.

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Health Discovery Building; Dell Med Donor Event

ASH poster HDB photo-1.jpg
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