Behavioral Health Lighting

Behavioral health lighting banner with patient room


When it comes to patient and staff safety, behavioral health facilities need light fixtures that are tested and proven to perform to the highest standard in these specialty environments.

Our behavioral health luminaires are engineered to meet the rigorous requirements of the New York State Office of Mental Health (NYS-OMH) and other industry recommendations. In the last several decades, behavioral healthcare has evolved dramatically—alongside our societal understanding of mental illness. Treatment objectives have changed from symptom control to patient-centered recovery. These changes permeate every element of behavioral health facility design, including lighting.

The Visa Lighting Behavioral Health lighting collection is engineered to be extremely robust with adequate ligature resistance and tamper-resistant fasteners. However, we also believe it is equally important that these specialized luminaires are beautiful, non-institutional in style, and produce high-quality illumination to best round out the design of patient-centered behavioral health spaces. 



23" and 45" recessed ceiling luminaires




Personal task light with touch-dimming controls




Overbed slot luminaires for patient exam lighting




Illuminated impact-resistant mirror 




Linear recessed luminaire




Edge-lit recessed luminaires to replace 2x2 and 2x4 troffers


Designing luminaires for Behavioral Health

During product development, we reached out to specifiers of behavioral health applications to discuss their concerns. What we found was that, while architecture and interior design in these spaces have grown immensely in the last decade, luminaire product design has lagged behind the innovative curve. We sat down with specifiers to work together on new concepts that could match up to current aesthetic, performance, and safety standards.

Design sketches for anti-ligature light fixtures in behavioral health environments

Design concepts for Gig, sketched during a Visa Lighting Innovation Lodge retreat with behavioral health specifiers. 

Product Testing: Impact, Ligature, and Tamper Resistance

In order to qualify as suitable for high risk behavioral health areas, these luminaires underwent vigorous testing. Gig, our patient room task light, and Sole, our unbreakable mirror, are both rated IK10. This means that they can withstand over 100 joules of impact without damage or loss of function. Thick polycarbonate on all our behavioral health products protects the light sources while allowing illumination to shine through, and tamper resistant hardware prevents the luminaires from being opened up or disassembled. The luminaire bodies and their assemblies have anti-ligature design.


2017 Nightingale Silver award from HCD to our unbreakable mirror, Sole
2017 IES Progress Report inclusion logo, awarded to Sole, Visa Lighting's unbreakable LED mirror


Latest News 

Gig, an anti-ligature behavioral health task light, wins Nightingale Gold at HCD Con 2018

Gig receives Nightingale GOLD award at #HCDcon 2018

"Named after Florence Nightingale, the awards recognize a product’s contribution to the healing environment as well as its functionality, durability, quality, aesthetics and style, and pricing" more

2018 Nightingale Gold logo, awarded to Visa Lighting's Gig behavioral health task light

Behavioral Health Design Resources

"Patient Safety Standards, Materials and Systems Guidelines (27th Edition, January 2022)" by the New York State Office of Mental Health

"Innovative Ligature Resistant Products" by Behavioral Health Facility Consulting (Previously by NAPHS)

"How to Design and Build a Safe Therapeutic Environment for Psychiatric Patients and Staff" by Kimberly McMurray, AIA, EDAC, MBA and James M. Hunt, AIA. 

"Common Mistakes in Designing Psychiatric Hospitals: An Update" by David Sine and James M. Hunt

"6 Behavioral Health Design Trends" by Rebecca Kleinbaum Sanders in Healthcare Design Magazine

"Lighting for Behavioral Health" SlideShare by Lauren Roberts (Schwade) LC, EDAC, IES and Brienne Willcock, LC 

Blog: "Behavioral Health Design: Balancing Safety and Empathy"

Behavioral health facility design isn’t just about safety—it’s also about offering comfort through the design itself. Since many facilities still struggle to apply evidence-based design behavioral health units, new research...keep reading



Blog: "What does "non-institutional design" mean for behavioral health?"

Most design guides recommend a “non-institutional” aesthetic for fixtures and furniture in behavioral health facilities, often in the context of recommending “therapeutic” design. But what does that really mean?...keep reading






What's the difference between "Behavioral Health" vs "Mental Health"? 

These terms are often used to mean the same thing, but in the healthcare world, "behavioral health" is a more accurate umbrella term referring to many facilities that treat mental illnesses, as well as any other affliction that can prevent a patient from functioning, like addiction. Behavioral Health inpatient facilities, including departments within general hospitals, treat a wide range of patients that must be kept safe.  

What makes a luminaire an "anti ligature" fixture? 

A "ligature" is any material that can be used for tying or binding, creating a risk for suicide or self harm. Anti-ligature fixtures and furniture cannot be used as ligatures or as attachment points for ligatures; nor can they be attached with other items to create ligature opportunities (e.g., wedging with a shoe). We refer to our fixtures as “ligature resistant” rather than “anti ligature” because no product can prevent 100% of possible harm; rather, we recognize how multiple variables and conditions combined contribute to environmental safety. 

What is "Vandal Resistance"? 

Materials that are "vandal resistant" are made to withstand any attempt to abuse or damage them. Vandal-resistant luminaires are often used in high-traffic public spaces. In behavioral health facilities, light fixtures with tamper-resistant fasteners and frames discourage property destruction and prevent materials from becoming dangerous after being damaged. A light fixture that is deemed "vandal resistant" is not necessarily appropriate for behavioral health applications, but may share characteristics in construction with luminaires designed specifically for behavioral health facilities. 

What does it mean that a light fixture is "High Abuse"?

Areas that may be at risk for vandalism need "high abuse" lighting. High Abuse lighting is designed to withstand impact without taking damage or losing functionality. You may see high abuse light fixtures in behavioral health facilities, schools, correctional environments, public transportation, and industrial spaces. Many elements of behavioral health fixtures are classified as "high abuse" because they also apply to fixtures in those spaces. 

What does "Non-Institutional Design" mean? 

Design principles are changing in many markets, and behavioral health is no exception. Human-centric design in the behavioral health environment means paying close attention to the sensory impact of materials. For us, that means engineering high abuse light fixtures that don't look harsh or institutional. This can be a challenge. Impact and tamper resistance limit materials, and ligature resistance limits form—but we see it as an opportunity to solve design problems creatively.