Mental health issues are overrepresented within correctional settings and have been on the rise. While only a small percentage of individuals with mental health issues become involved with the criminal justice system, those working in correctional settings play an important role in identifying and addressing the often complex risks and needs presented by this group of clients. This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the major issues involved in working with persons who have mental health issues. Students will explore the etiological factors of mental disorder including the contribution of genetics, attachment, adverse childhood environments, and the impact of trauma. The most prevalent types of mental disorders seen within the offender population will be highlighted as well as evidence-based assessment and treatment strategies. Students will learn to identify signs and symptoms of mental disorder, how to respond to challenges with clients including recognizing vulnerability, when a referral is required, balancing risk and needs, and the importance of a multidisciplinary team approach. In addition, students will focus on strategies to support health, wellness and resilience. The course will integrate theory and research, and will utilize case study examples from pre-trial assessment through to community release.
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