Where is architecture’s Stephen Fry?

Virginia Newman is a director of KSR Architects and the RIBA mental health champion

We need a high-profile architect to speak out about their mental health struggles, says Virginia Newman

The issue of poor mental health in the studying and practising of architecture has at last been exposed and discussed at length. It is very evident that it can affect anyone regardless of background and experience, and yet I still struggle to think of any significant architect who has admitted to suffering from anxiety, who has taken time away from the office due to depression or who has struggled with eating disorders.

If we consider, in comparison, sportsmen and women, poets, writers, comedians, actors, artists; all have high-profile stars who have come forward and stated that they have fought or are fighting their demons.

It is inconceivable to me that no “starchitect” has been in a similar position. Let’s face it, even the Royal Family has joined in! It seems, therefore, that in the world of architecture mental illness is still seen as a sign of weakness or instability. My concern is that this sentiment may permeate down through practices and even into architectural education.

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