Institutional Mental Health Initiative
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has witnessed a significant increase in the number of offenders diagnosed with a mental health disorder upon admission. Since 1997, rates among both male and female offenders have risen by approximately 85 per cent. As of 2008, 13 per cent of male offenders and 24 per cent of women offenders are identified as having a mental health disorder at intake.
To respond to this trend, CSC continues to focus on improving its capacity to assess and address the increasingly broad and multi-dimensional mental health needs of offenders.
In particular, the focus is on strengthening interventions from the time of admission to the end of the offender’s sentence. This key priority is linked with keeping Canadian communities safe by maintaining safety within the institutions and ensuring a successful transition of offenders back into the community.
THE INSTITUTIONAL MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE (IMHI)
Launched in 2007, the IMHI is one of the components of CSC’s overall Mental Health Strategy to deliver quality mental health services – for both men and women – within our federal institutions. IMHI teams work with the offender during their incarceration and create linkages with Community Mental Health Initiative teams, to ensure that a continuum of mental health care is provided through to their release back into the community.
KEY ELEMENTS OF IMHI INCLUDE:
- The computerized Mental Health Intake Screening System identifies offenders who are experiencing significant psychological distress at intake. Subsequent assessments help offer a clearer picture of an offender’s mental health needs, and provide information essential to developing an individualized plan. This plan is then incorporated into the offender’s overall correctional plan.
- Primary Mental Health Care teams in institutions provide offenders with access to comprehensive mental health care. These teams employ a multi-disciplinary approach, focusing on mental health promotion, mental illness prevention, early interventions, treatment and support, as well as continuing care. Primary Mental Health Care teams also provide support and advice to other institutional sectors and partners, to promote and sustain quality mental health care for all offenders.
- A two day mental health training package is being delivered to correctional staff. The training is designed to increase staff awareness of mental health issues and enhance their skills in working with offenders with mental disorders.
Approximately 125 new positions were created to fulfill the staffing complement for the IMHI including nurses, psychologists, social workers, and behavioral counsellors.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information about the Institutional Mental Health Initiative, please visit our Web site at www.csc-scc.gc.ca.