What is the issue?
People who are justice involved and living with mental health problems and illnesses face a variety of challenges that can worsen their mental health. Incarceration experiences and stressors can intensify existing conditions, create new ones, and hinder recovery and healing. Among these stressors are
- being isolated from their community supports and services upon incarceration
- facing inadequate or unavailable mental health services in corrections facilities (e.g., fragmented, not culturally safe or trauma informed)
- having to rely on segregation and pharmacology as the primary means of intervention
- grappling with stigma, discrimination, and systematic exclusion from employment, housing, and health services after their discharge.
What are we doing?
Developing a national action plan
We are leading the development of a national action plan (NAP) to support the mental health and well-being of people who interact with the criminal justice system by enabling personal, societal, and systemic change.
The NAP was inspired by continuous calls for action on decades-old efforts to produce meaningful change. It is supported by leaders and experts in the field and by people with lived and living experience of criminal justice involvement and mental health concerns or illnesses.
The scope of the NAP includes several priorities and cross-cutting considerations.
The following resources have laid the foundation and show why the NAP is needed:
Exploring mental health needs in the criminal justice system
- Existing research and policies on the mental health needs of people who are justice involved, a rapid scoping review developed with the Canadian Mental Health Association
- Infographics depicting key messages from the review
- A summary of the main themes, challenges, and opportunities for improvement as well as the specific mental health needs of priority populations, as identified in the rapid scoping review, key informant interviews, and a national survey
Supporting people who are transitioning from corrections to the community
- A cross-Canada inventory of community-based mental health and substance use services and supports
- A description of the inventory’s development, including a brief overview of the transition from corrections to community, promising practices, and key themes in community needs
Looking at the impact of COVID-19 on corrections
- Infection control measures in correctional settings during COVID and how they impact mental health and substance use, a policy brief for senior-level decision makers
- A two-page infographic with the brief’s key facts, challenges, considerations, and recommendations
- A webinar highlighting the pandemic’s mental health impacts on incarcerated populations, along with recommendations for improving services and supports, today and in the future
To learn more, connect with our team at email@example.com.
Please note: Our email address is monitored during normal business hours. We do not provide crisis services or legal advice.
The Working Mind First Responders
Reducing stigma and increasing resiliency in first responders
Mental Health First Aid for Police
A course to help improve police interactions where mental health may be an issue
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) created a number of resources to help reduce the over-representation of people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system. Click on the links below for more information.