Offender mental health: helping to break the cycle of reoffending
Between 50% to 90% of the prison population experience mental health problems, which are often a complex mix of depression, anxiety, substance misuse and problematic personality traits. Those leaving prison often experience difficulties with family relationships, employment, long-term illness, self-harm and re-offending. The risk of suicide for male prison leavers is eight times the national average, and over a quarter of fatal suicide attempts happen within a month of release.
Our previous research has found that distrust of medical professionals, and other authority figures, contributes to prisoners not seeking help when experiencing problems. The aim of our current project is to find ways to support offenders, both before and after release from prison, to help them to rebuild their lives in a meaningful way, become part of society and break the cycle of mental illness and re-offending.