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New NMIT DVD to Assist Monash University and Victoria Police with Mental Health Issues

08 Oct 2007

For Victoria Police members, understanding and dealing with mental health issues can be difficult.

A new research study in which police members will complete a survey on their experience, attitudes and knowledge of mental illness, will investigate the type and frequency of incidents for police involving mentally ill people.

As part of that study, police will view video scenarios of a person who may or may not be mentally ill filmed with an actor, prepared script and two operational members of Victoria Police.

Three students and staff from the Greensborough campus of Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) Multimedia field were approached to film the videos which provided 'real-life' experience for the students.

The study is part of Project PRIMed: Police Responses to the Interface with Mental Disorder, a large, collaborative research grant between Monash University, Victoria Police and Forensicare (partially funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Project Grant).

NMIT multimedia teacher, Marc Wright, said the videos were filmed in Yarra Bend Park with three, second-year students from the Advanced Diploma in Multimedia taking about 90-minutes of video footage and then having to edit the footage to three different, short scenarios.

The total five-minute DVD was shot with NMIT camera equipment and edited in their computer classrooms.

Marc said that for the first time, the students gained experience in the multimedia industry in the production of a real project.

'It was a great opportunity for them to actively experience the demands of what a project like this involves.

'Providing students with real life experience is part of the NMIT training program where students are involved in industry projects where they have to meet deadlines and work under pressure,' Marc added.

'Working within time constraints and to a design brief not of their own choosing is invaluable experience for them.'

Student Nathan Gilligan, 20, of St Andrews, said he didn't know what to expect when first embarking on the project and didn't know anything about mental health issues.

Working on the project has enhanced not only his technical multimedia skills, but made him appreciate the predicament police can sometimes find themselves in with mental health issues.

'It opened my eyes to how police might deal with these issues and the difficulties they can face,' Nathan said.

'It made us all aware and learn about mental health issues in the community and gave us a real insight about it.'

Nathan added that the project enabled him to apply the skills he had learned at NMIT and to put them into practice in a real life scenario was terrific experience.

He said the experience was not just about the application of technical skills operating a camera, sound equipment and computer software programs, but also about investing a sensitive and creative approach to the videos.

'The videos needed to portray the message the police wanted and we had to keep this in mind all the way through.'

Project PRIMed Research Fellow & Project Manager, Dr Kathy Avent, said the videos were of 'extremely high quality' and would be used for research and training purposes to assist the research team and the police.

The current study, with the assistance of the videos, would provide a better understanding of the issues facing police in their daily duties, she said.


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NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.