Pratt Students Design Products to aid Patients with Mental Health Challenges Nov. 30


Designs in this collection are the result of a unique collaboration between Pratt Institute’s School of Design and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City.

NAMI-NYC is a non-profit supporting people living with mental illness and their families. Conversations between NAMI-NYC staff and Pratt industrial and interior design students throughout each of this course’s four semesters ensured that lived experience informed designs.

Nov. 30th at NOON EST on ZOOM

CLICK HERE for the Link to Register

The Designers: 

Ellen Zhengyi Ren, Slow Support, Spring 2021, Industrial Design.

Eating food can be a much slower process for people living with an eating disorder, such as anorexia. For this reason, meals that begin with loved ones can end in stigmatizing solitude. To reframe this situation, this cutlery is designed with features whose inefficiency expresses care.

Ellen Ren¬†is a graduate from Pratt Institute’s Industrial Design program. With an unwavering passion for innovation, she is committed to designing for diverse groups of people regarding topics from education to social issues. She aims to ignite interest and raise awareness, prompting people to think, collaborate, and solve problems.

Daniel Karaj, Amplify, Fall 2020, Industrial Design.

Some children experience anxiety that makes speaking to anyone beyond their families impossible. Children experiencing such selective mutism can customize Amplify to record common responses with their parents at home and playback pre-recorded replies in public.

Daniel Karaj is a Designer/Engineer studying Global Innovation Design at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College. He previously worked as Software Engineer at Google and studied Computer Science at the University of Cambridge

Claire Riordan, At Hand, Fall 2020, Interior design.

Research suggests that tracing the pathways of labyrinth patterns can offer an alternative to psycho-pharmacological treatments for anxiety associated with PTSD. Those living among daily objects with captivating geometries such as these cloth napkins can provide discreet benefits.

As a designer, Claire Riordan is interested in social needs rooted in mental health and identity that help to cultivate shared and individual spaces. Her background is in fine arts with a focus in film photography and mixed media sculpture. Accomplishments in interior design include an exhibition at the Noguchi Museum and a profile in the Dezeen Virtual Design Fair 2021 featuring select Pratt Institute Interior Design BFA and MFA thesis projects.

The Mentors:

Dr. Alex Schweder is an artist whose¬†works have been exhibited at institutions such as MoMA and SFMOMA, and an¬†educator who teaches at Pratt Institute’s School of Design. He holds a PhD. in architecture from the University of Cambridge, a Master’s in Architecture from Princeton University, and a Bachelor’s in Architecture from Pratt Institute.

Matt Kudish¬†is the Chief Executive Officer¬†of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City¬†(NAMI-NYC), helping families and individuals affected by mental illness for 40 years. NAMI-NYC is one of the largest affiliates of NAMI, and serves the New York City metro area.¬†Matt received his Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University and his Master’s in Public Administration from New York University.¬†¬†¬†¬† 
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