Psychology Services departments in all Bureau of Prisons institutions offer basic mental health care to inmates. This care may include screening, assessment and treatment of mental health or drug abuse problems, individual and/or group counseling, psycho-educational classes, self-help and supportive services, or referral to Health Services for medical treatment of a mental illness.
In addition, Psychology Services staff, along with other programming staff in the institution, collaborate with your Unit Team to develop a comprehensive assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Based on this assessment, Psychology Services will offer programming recommendations specific to your psychological needs. These recommendations are designed to ensure your successful adjustment to incarceration and prepare you for your eventual release. We encourage you to participate actively in the assessment process.
If mental health or drug abuse programming is recommended for you, Psychology Services staff will provide ongoing feedback to you and your unit team regarding your progress toward these programming goals.
If you are new to the Bureau, or if you have previously identified mental health or drug abuse programming needs, you will be scheduled for an interview with Psychology Services staff. The purpose of this interview is to review your history and identify your programming needs. This interview is an ideal time for you to share your interest in specific services, such as drug abuse treatment or mental health counseling.
There are a number of ways to contact Psychology Services at this institution.
Submit an Inmate Request to a Staff Member to Psychology Services.
Speak with a Psychology Services staff member during mainline or as they make rounds in your unit.
Or in the case of a crisis situation, notify your Unit Officer, Unit Team, or any other Bureau staff member of your urgent need to speak with Psychology Services.
Incarceration can be a difficult experience. At times you may feel discouraged, frustrated and helpless. It is not uncommon for people to experience depression while in jail or prison, especially if they are newly incarcerated, serving a long sentence, experiencing family problems, struggling to get along with other inmates, or receiving bad news. Over time, most inmates successfully adapt to incarceration and find ways to use their time productively and meaningfully. However, some inmates continue to struggle with the pressures of incarceration and become overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness. If you feel a sense of hopelessness or begin thinking about suicide, talk to a staff member. Help is available and actively seeking help is a sign of your strength and determination to prevail. If you feel you are in imminent danger of harming yourself or someone else, you should contact a staff member immediately.
In addition, if you suspect another inmate is contemplating suicide, please notify a staff member. Staff do not always see everything inmates see. And, most suicidal individuals display some warning signs of their intentions. PLEASE alert a staff member right away if you suspect a fellow inmate is considering suicide. The most effective way to prevent another person from taking his or her life is to recognize the factors that put people at risk for suicide, take warning signs seriously and know how to respond. The warning signs of suicide may include:
threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
increased alcohol or drug use
withdrawing from friends, family, associates
experiencing dramatic mood changes
feeling anxious or agitated, being unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time
seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose
If your friend, cellmate, coworker, or associate is exhibiting these signs, start by telling the person you are concerned and give him/her examples of what you see that worries you. Listen and encourage the person to seek help. If they are hesitant, offer to go with them to speak to a staff member. If you are not confident they will seek help, notify a staff member yourself. Seeking help for a person in distress isn’t snitching, it is showing concern for the welfare of a fellow human being. If you report your concerns to staff, you can rest easy knowing you did everything within your power to assist the individual.