Prison mental health in-reach teams (MHITs) have developed in England and Wales over the last decade. Services have been nationally reviewed, but detailed descriptions of their work have been scarce. The purpose of this paper is to describe the functions of one MHIT in a busy, ethnically diverse, male remand prison in London, UK.
Clinical and demographic data were collected for prisoners referred to the MHIT using a retrospective design over an 18-week period in 2008/2009 (n=111).
Foreign national prisoners and sentenced prisoners were significantly under-referred. Most referrals were already known to community mental health services, although around a quarter accessed services for the first time in prison. Around a third presented with self-harm/suicide risks. Substance misuse problems were common. Although the MHIT had evolved systems to promote service access, prisoner self-referrals were limited.
Foreign national prisoners require enhanced investment to improve service access. MHITs identify people with mental disorders for the first time in prisons, but better screening arrangements are needed across systems. An evaluation of multiple MHIT models could inform a wider delivery template.
One of the first ground-level evaluations of MHITs in England and Wales.
Forrester, A., Singh, J., Slade, K., Exworthy, T. and Sen, P. (2014), "Mental health in-reach in an urban UK remand prison", International Journal of Prisoner Health, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 155-163. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPH-07-2013-0035
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