Forensicare’s St Paul’s Unit turns twoZoe Simmons
St Paul’s Unit at Port Phillip Prison is celebrating its second anniversary!
A mental health rehabilitation unit, Forensicare’s St Paul’s Unit helps consumers work through their mental health recovery journey by providing support and holistic health programs.
“It’s about empowering consumers with knowledge of what keeps them well, and their struggles of what makes them unwell,” St Paul’s Nurse Unit Manager Michelle Brame said.
“They learn skills each day, and build resilience, as well as receiving psychological support.”
“We equip them with that support and ongoing care, and guide where they can get help afterwards.”
In the two years since its opening, St Paul’s has helped hundreds of consumers.
“We see them as the person they are, not by the crime they’ve committed,” Michelle said.
“We give them the specialist support they mightn’t have otherwise received, and help them look at how they can improve their lives—whether that’s back in the community, or back in mainstream prison after their time with us.”
While the unit itself is much older than two years, Forensicare took over management of the unit on 10 September 2017. The 30-bed unit provides specialist rehabilitation services, as well as outpatient services and an overnight at-risk assessment service.
Staff on why they love working at St Paul’s
Working closely with prison operators G4S and inpatient health care provider St Vincent’s, the multi-disciplinary team of 25 say they truly enjoy the valuable work they do.
“I have never worked in a prison or forensic mental health prior to my role here, but I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of working with the complexities of our consumers, and helping to make a difference,” Senior Social Worker Sharon Rouse said.
“Our team is a strong unit. We support and respect each other, and we work to get the best outcomes for our consumers by utilising our many skills.”
“Our great team have put together so many meaningful programs to help our consumers with their recovery,” said Acting Clinical Coordinator Wai Ching Soon.
“I believe we are a very special unit. I can’t tell you enough about my pride and joy of working here.”
“As a postgraduate nurse new to St Paul’s, I can honestly say this unit is one word: supportive. We work collaboratively and therapeutically to provide the best possible care for a group of highly-vulnerable consumers,” said Postgraduate Nurse Melissa Lombardi.
“We’ve had hurdles along the way, but have still come out smiling on the other side because of each other’s support,” added Ward Clerk Rhonda Crowe.
Acting Executive Director of Prison Services Jo Ryan said the organisation is proud of the great work the St Paul’s team do.
“They are a truly dedicated, compassionate and cohesive team that will enable St Paul’s to continue to grow and flourish,” Jo said.
“We thank them for their commitment to the great work they do.”
Making a difference
The close-knit team—comprised of clinicians and allied health staff—offer many intensive, therapeutic programs to truly make a difference in the lives of their consumers; all in a supportive, calm and safe environment.
“It’s an amazing feeling to make a difference in the lives of the people we see,” Michelle said.
The team say the milestone is so much more than an important celebration.
“Celebrating this milestone allows us to recognise the hard work our staff do, and the great support we’ve been able to provide consumers,” she said.
“We’ve got an absolutely fantastic team. As a manager, I couldn’t ask for a better team. Everyone is here to support each other, and support the consumers.”
“It’s also about celebrating the hard work of our consumers too, as we walk with them through their recovery journey.”
“It’s so rewarding to see our consumers leave with hope in their eyes.”