Screening for mental health problems in the adult prison population

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On 14th May 2010, when Kenneth Clarke returned to the Ministry of Justice, the prison population in England and Wales was 85,009. When he had previously been Home Secretary in 1992-93, the average prison population had been 44,628 (Prison Briefing 2010). This represents a 90% increase in a period when crime rates were generally falling. The [read the full story...]

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Interventions for drug using offenders: What works in reducing drug use and criminal activity?

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It is estimated that between 10% (Gunn 1991) and 39% (Brooke 1996) of prisoners in the UK are dependent on illicit drugs; and that 14.5% of male and 31% of female prisoners have serious mental health problems (Steadman 2009). Drug use can be associated with many health, social and criminological consequences; and when mental health [read the full story...]

The largest ever study of self-harm in prisons: prevalence, risk, clustering and subsequent suicide

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New research published today in the Lancet shows that up to one in four women prisoners in England and Wales self-harm every year. The largest study of self-harm in prisons also reports that female prisoners are four times more likely to self-harm than male inmates. Previous systematic reviews have investigated self-harm in prisons (Lohner, 2007 and Dixon-Gordon, [read the full story...]

We ignore the rise of suicide in people with mental illness

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Despite public campaigns to combat stigma around mental illness, people with mental health problems still face ongoing discrimination. And while some sections of the media focus on mental illness in cases of violence, a rise in the number of people who are more of a risk to themselves goes unnoticed. We still find it difficult [read the full story...]

A Reasoning and Rehabilitation programme reduces verbal aggression and improves problem solving in offenders with psychosis

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Here at the Mental Elf we are always on the look out for research that extends trials into new areas, and offers practical benefits to people recovering from mental illness. Within psychiatric wards violence and challenging behaviour can be extremely distressing, with a 2007 Healthcare Commission report finding that over half of staff and almost half of [read the full story...]

Are you really at risk of attack by someone with schizophrenia?

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By Rebecca Syed, King’s College London.  A violent attack by someone who is mentally ill quickly grabs the headlines. And it’s usually implied that mental illnesses are a preventable cause of violent crime. Tackle that and we can all sleep safer in our beds. But by pressuring mental health services to focus on the risk [read the full story...]

Systematic review finds that suicide risk for prisoners with bipolar disorder may be lower than other mental disorders

Prison wall

In prisons, suicide is the leading cause of mortality (estimated at 3-5 times the general population). Mental health disorders are known to increase the risk. Generally, suffering from a bipolar disorder increases the risk of attempted or completed suicide when compared to the general population. So it would be expected that prisoners with bipolar disorder [read the full story...]

People with disability are more likely to be victims of violence and to suffer mental illness as a result

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In the UK over 10 million people live with a disability, many of whom suffer from violence (Department for Working Pensions, 2011). A recent World Report on Disability by WHO (2011) highlighted that people living with disabilities are at  risk from sexual and physical violence. Despite this, little is known about who is at risk [read the full story...]

New meta-review highlights the best approaches for preventing violence in young people

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The WISQARS Leading Causes of Death website is a mine of information for researchers and bloggers alike. I searched it to find out what the leading causes of death are for people (all races, both sexes) in the US aged 10-24 years. The top three in 2010 were: Unintentional injury (e.g. road traffic accidents, poisoning, [read the full story...]

New review confirms the strong association between criminal history and violence risk in psychosis

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What’s the relationship between violence and psychosis? It’s an emotive debate that’s been running for years. On the one hand we have the net curtain-twitching, tabloid-reading brigade who picture axe-wielding psychopaths as soon as they read the word schizophrenia. On the other we have patients, carers, mental health charities and many clinicians who claim that [read the full story...]