Screening for emerging mental health problems in prison to improve treatment.

Presentation First Author: 
Lucia Valmaggia

Background Similar to many Western countries, the prison population in the UK is currently at its highest ever (almost 84,000, all but 4000 are male), and there has been an acknowledgment both in recent policy initiatives that addressing the mental health needs of those who come into contact with the Criminal Justice System is fundamental to reducing the prison population. However, limited information is available upon reception into prison to distinguish between those who need mental health interventions and those who do not. The London Early detection And Prevention (LEAP) service has developed a comprehensive early detection screening instrument in an effort to address this question. Method LEAP screens all new reception, under 35 years old, to two South London male prisons to detect emerging mental health problems. To date we have screened over 2,200 prisoners. Results Prisoners who screened negative for emerging mental health problems did not differ from those who screened positive in term of age, education, type of crime. As expected they reported fewer symptoms, but also better social inclusion before coming to prison, fewer childhood adverse life events; lower rates of drug use; and lower rates of family psychiatric history. Discussion We will discuss how these findings have influenced the psychological and family interventions we offer as part of the service.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
Additional Authors: 
Manuela Jarrett - Catherine Campbell - Majella Byrne - Juliana Onwumere - Vyv Huddy - Tom Craig - Andrew Forrester
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