Focusing on the Importance of Mental Health – Resources for Incarcerated Individuals and Returning Citizens
May 20, 2020
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year in the midst of a pandemic it is especially important to be aware of our and our loved ones’ mental health. Did you know that 1 in 5 people are affected by mental health issues, including those in correctional facilities? In fact, incarcerated individuals are more likely to have a mental health issue than other population groups—a 2005 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicated that 56% of state prisoners, 45% of Federal prisoners, and 64% of jailed inmates suffered from a mental illness, many of which have a dual diagnosis—mental illness combined with substance abuse.
The fact remains that very few of these individuals receive treatment during incarceration. But valuable resources are now making their way into correctional facilities to provide treatment to those that are incarcerated and to offer continuing help to returning citizens after they are released.
As a company focused on corrections technology, GTL is dedicated to providing resources and solutions that help to address this problem. With the current pandemic situation affecting everyone in the United States, physical and mental health are of the utmost importance. There is an unfortunate stigma surrounding mental health issues that keeps many from seeking treatment. That needs to change.
Within facilities, GTL makes several resources available on our inmate tablets, an especially timely delivery method with isolation making face-to-face treatment difficult or unavailable:
- Breaking Free from Substance Abuse – This partnership assists incarcerated individuals in achieving and maintaining recovery from dependence on over 70 different substances, including opioids, stimulants, prescribed medications, and alcohol.
- Peace Education Program from The Prem Rawat Foundation – A program with 10 thought-provoking themes helps participants discover a renewed sense of purpose, including how to use their own inner resources and lead more fulfilling lives.
For those outside a facility’s walls, there are many national organizations focused on getting help for individuals suffering from mental illness, ensuring their safety and well-being:
- NAMI Stepping Up Initiative – Brings together mental health organizations, substance abuse organizations, and law enforcement associations to divert people with mental illness from incarceration into treatment.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Provides a location-based list of substance abuse and mental health treatment.
- Give an Hour – Offers free and confidential mental health care to all populations through a network of professional volunteers.
While struggling with mental illness might feel lonely, there are dozens of national organizations that can pair people with resources, recommend treatment paths, and more. GTL works with many of these community partners to offer mental health resources for incarcerated individuals, and we plan to expand those partnerships. May might be Mental Health Awareness Month, but it should be a focus all year round.
Posted In: Blog