Mental Health in Prisons – El Sol de México

At the stages of life, the triad of mental, physical and spiritual health are the determinants of the “protection” or “risk” of the individual, family, community.

I. Context:

a) For example, the 2022 World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health Report says in its prologue:

“The number of prevalent disorders such as depression and anxiety, which increased by 25% during the first year of the pandemic, increasing the nearly 1,000 million people who already suffer from a mental disorder”… “in short, without mental health, there is no health.”

Let’s correlate: the population reached 8 billion in 2022 (UN). 74% are aged 15 and over.

b) “Triggers” for violence are unwanted and unexpected negative mental health outcomes.

Although criminology focuses on: causes, solutions, prevention of antisocial behavior, consequences (victim, perpetrator, crime, punishment, compensation for damage, etc.). Criminal acts occur in all countries.

II. Mental health in prisons:

a) Prisons are the last link in the chain of justice. UNESCO notes: “Today, about 11 million people are in prisons around the world, which is equivalent to an average prison population of 144 for every 100,000 people in the world … these numbers are not without growth.”

b) Morbidity (disability for any reason) – the main area of ​​​​opportunity:

Emotional or behavioral problems: 25 – 50%;

Depression: 6% severe symptoms, 26% moderate;

Anxiety: 15% severe symptoms;

Suicide: 5% attempts;

The prevalence increases with the use of psychoactive substances and alcohol;

There are 3-4 times more mental health problems than those who are free.

c) Behavior in an institution based on one’s crimes is another interesting topic.

d) In Mexico, the total population: 232 thousand people deprived of liberty. Mental health profiles are different (same in other countries).

Indicator: Admission is dominated by the type of crime (common law or federal law). In the future, during hospitalization: months, years or a lifetime, the symptoms tend to decrease.

In Mexico, without normalizing violence, the priority is to establish its origin and assign those responsible. Crimes of general jurisdiction (202 thousand prisoners) and federal jurisdiction (30 thousand) against (18 thousand) in 2018 (INEGI).

In this sense, the Minister of Security and Citizen Protection, through the Decentralized Administrative Authority for Prevention and Social Rehabilitation, invited to participate in the 2023 National Criminological Investigation and Human Rights Competition. One of the seven lines: “Mental health, addictions and suicide.” On October 13 the results were summed up. By the way, November 13th is the birthday of licensed President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, let’s invite him to the ceremony.

e) Individual treatment.

Treatment and Treatment: “Treatment without treatment is not a cure.” Thus, this is the best practice of the National Conference of the Penitentiary System, carried out by government officials and civil society.

A roadmap is allocated for persons deprived of their liberty (diagnosis, interventions, treatment, assessments, etc.). It is a path of social reintegration for the benefit of all.

Let’s develop mental health and a supportive environment (outside or in prison): study, work, live in peace… advocacy and prevention are viable today, they generate change.

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