- Forensicare (Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health)
Enabling co-presence is a series of postcards for Forensicare, families and wider community to help the patients “stay in touch” with their “families” and “friends.” Creating a positive co-presence for all parties involved allows humanising patients\’ mental health experiences and improving communicational care practice environment, while engaging the Forensicare community.
By creating co-presence, the safety level of the staff and community increases, which accelerates rehabilitation and recuperation of patients within the Forensicare Community. Each stage of mental health rehabilitation encourages a more meaningful life and promotes wellbeing.
With each postcard being unique, these can never to be repeated in quite the same way as it doesn\’t get simultaneously sent like a text or an email. These postcards are intimate, as the receiver will know the writer has physically touched it and taken time to personalising the card, to send the vital message. It\’s the perfect form of communication and visulaisation at that point in time. Which creates a sense of co-presence and being linked with one another at a given time, at two different places, by holding the postcard within one’s hand.
Today texts and emails are overly used, we all have too many unopened messages, but for the patients at Forensicare this is not an option; no phone; to message or hear their voice or internet access; to view the world around them. Communication is always difficult, especially when the person you are talking to isn’t well or has a history of mental illness. This began the postcard design for the patients and connections outside Forensicare to assist in the patient and the family rebuilding a connection with each other and supporting their own recovery journeys.
The postcard system is a micro ambition design approach, by understanding proximities and complexities. That not only writing a postcard but, selecting a postcard would add to the difficulty, of the situation to anyone. These messages and assist in the postcard booklets, allow for records of special message to be kept, providing clarity during times, when reflecting of experience is needed, similar postcards talk to the receiving from sender. The postcards make the sender and receiver feel heard and listen too, to advocate rehabilitation and connection, thought shearing their journey at that point in time, in any two different places.
Postcard linkage to mental health service and application of the care model is a key to address complex needs of patients during their rehabilitation journey. The aim was achieved by interpreting the patients’ experience within the Forensicare system. Supporting links that patients are unaware and are fearful of how to communicate to outside connections. By providing assistances to those who don’t know what to say and don’t want to burden family or friends, finding they are out of sight out of mind. These postcards can not only be services at other prisoned facilities, but for children, to learn communication skills.
Embedded still within Forensicare and the Thomas Embling hospital, I have the opportunity to collaborate and design an intervention, which responds to the need for alternative communication rehabilitation for patients. Human centred design research allowed Forensicare and myself to express empathy and gain a deeper appreciation for and understanding of the holistic system.
I was presented the Outstanding Award in Industrial Design RMIT and graduated with First Class honours. I demonstrated to Forensicare and RMIT the collaboration Industrial designer can have within other fields. I continued to work with Forensicare as their first Industrial design program project manager.