Visualising Mental Health 2021 has kicked off

VMH for 2021 has kicked off!

This year the students are tackling the topic of resilience.

They are being asked to consider how they might help individuals, families or even communities cope with, respond to, recover from and even thrive in the face of adverse events and experiences.

To get them started we gave them a brief which explained the basic concept of resilience and then last week, three of the psychologists involved in the project – myself, Simeon and Richard – met with the student groups.

Before we caught up with the students, they had already considered who they might target and in relation to what kind of adversity.

There were already great ideas, and some bold ones as well, targeting some challenging topics: domestic violence, child abuse, unemployment, forced relocation, discrimination and harassment, bullying, addiction, chronic pain and more.

During the catch-up, we tried to help the students identify what it is they might try to activate or modify in the individuals, families or communities they would be communicating to. This is a challenging concept for those who haven’t trained to think clinically.

For example, when thinking about how to support someone dealing with chronic pain, what is it that you should try to change? Should it be practical things like assistance with activities or psychological things like pain tolerance or something else entirely? This is a critical thing for students to address when building their product, campaign or service.

All of us have our work cut out for us this year.

The students will have to work hard to quickly get a feel for what it is like to live through some of these challenges and develop ideas that would support those who have, are or might go through these challenges in their life.

The lecturers and us as psychologists will have the task of guiding them through these difficult spaces.

I am really looking forward to it.

Interestingly, the VMH project actually sits within a bigger project this year.

Match studio, the design studio within UniSA that first kicked off the VMH project has multiple students across multiple disciplines working on the same topic this year – resilience.

In the mid-year break, students from each of these disciplines are invited into a Match Tournament in which they divide into teams and do a rapid iteration of an idea to “activate resilience by equipping communities to connect with and support each other in response to traumatic events”

It will be quite an amazing inter-disciplinary process, as there will be students from health sciences, allied health, STEM, creative, education, justice/society and business all in the mix.

Supporting interdisciplinary collaboration is a centrepiece of the Match Studio model, built on a strong foundation of having developed successful solutions to real-world problems by getting different disciplines to collaborate, rather than work in silos.

In other news…..

Most of the 2020 projects have now been loaded. There are just a few more that are proving a bit tricky to convert that I still have yet to load. I’ll profile a few of the 2020 projects as we progress through the year, given that we don’t reveal 2021 projects until quite late in 2021.