January the 9th, Melinda Smith, Psychologist, and Project Manager from the Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network, New South Wales, Australia spent all day with Gemma Escuder, Vicenç Tort and Ellen Vorstenbosch in the surroundings of Barcelona to visit the Psychiatric Hospitalization Unit (Brians 1 Penitenciary Center) and the Intellectual Disability and Psychiatric Units (located in the Quatre Camins Penitentiary Center).
The area of Melinda’s work is people with intellectual disability, in or at risk of contact with the criminal justice system. This includes people with intellectual disability and mental health problems, forensic patients and people with other types of cognitive disability. In NSW, disability services are not a part of health services, so she is working with Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network to improve their recognition and response to patients with cognitive disability.
Melinda also introduced her colleague Jonathon Adams (Staff Specialist Forensic Psychiatrist), who is currently doing a project using the CANFOR and other instruments, looking at the therapeutic security characteristics of the NSW forensic mental health services, coupled with an assessment of the needs of the current forensic patient cohort. Stuart Thomas is supervising it.
All were enthusiastic to keep in touch and to explore if further cooperation for COST is possible. Will be continued…