Less Recidivism Found in Offenders Processed Through Mental Health Court

From Psychiatric News Alert: Offenders who participated in a mental health court program recorded significantly better recidivism outcomes compared to matched control defendants in the traditional criminal court system, according to Joye Anestis, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, and co-author Joyce Carbonell, Ph.D., director of women’s studies at Florida State University in Tallahasee.

The study published online in Psychiatric Services in Advance compared two groups of 198 criminal offenders with mental illnesses. Overall, the mental health group had a lower occurrence of rearrest, a longer time to reoffending, and had fewer rearrests. Severity of the rearrest offense did not differ between the two groups, however.

A within-subject analysis of mental health court offenders found that those charged with misdemeanors had a higher occurrence of rearrest than those charged with felonies, but the two groups did not differ on odds of arrest or time to rearrest. Also, violent and nonviolent offenders showed no difference in recidivism outcomes, said Anestis and Carbonell.

The results may suggest that keeping mentally ill offenders out of jail and in community treatment may have positive effects on recidivism, as may the increased attention and supervision they receive, said the authors.

“Future research would benefit from a focus on the mechanisms of change in [mental health courts] and on identifying characteristics of individuals who respond best to participation in [them],” they concluded.

For more in Psychiatric News about mental health diversion options, see: “Judges, Psychiatrists Confer on Handling Mental Illness inJustice System.”

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Tips for Helping Someone with Depression

From NAMI California: Suffering from depression is a serious health issue – one that affects between 15 and 17 million Americans every day. Thankfully, a number of different treatment options are now available that can help those suffering from depression overcome their problems and get their life back to where it should be. While medication, healthy lifestyle options, and counseling can all have an influence on one’s depression, one of the most important things for anyone looking to combat their depression is to have a solid support system in place. 

That support system should be made up of friends and family who love them and can offer the kind of support that is needed. If you’re one of the many who know someone who is combating depression, you’ll likely find yourself in the position of being a part of a support system. This isn’t something to become stressed or panicked about, however. As long as you understand the basics of helping provide support to a loved one, you can help them overcome their depression in a significant way. 

There are a few tips that can help you provide the highest level of support possible, and understanding them will ensure that you give your loved one everything they need to overcome their mental illness. 

Here are some of the keys to being an effective member of a support system:

• Be Patient – It’s important to understand that the problems your loved one is suffering from are very real and not just imaginary. You’ll need to be patient and understanding of their struggle, not judgmental. 

• Motivate Them – A big part of recovery from depression is getting active and leading a healthy lifestyle, but it can be hard for sufferers to find the motivation to do so. Help them by providing motivation, offering to participate in activities with them, and more. 

• Don’t Offer Advice – One of the biggest issues that depression sufferers face is the constant barrage of advice from their loved ones. While it is almost always well-intentioned, the fact is that telling them your opinions on how to deal with what they’re feeling won’t usually help – it will only add to the problem. Instead, simply support them in what they’re doing and working through. It’s a better solution, with much better results. 

As a loved one, you’ll be a key part of someone’s battle against depression. The points above can help you give them the support they need to win that battle for good. We can help as well. For more information, contact us at NAMI California today. 

Please consider joining NAMI. We have free education classes,
we advocate for mental health and we have support.

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