USP Beaumont Mental Health of Prisoners

Aug, 21 11 Post by: admin | No Comments

Psychology Services

Psychology staff offer comprehensive individual and group therapy programs. These programs address the full range of clinical disorders, provide self-help options, assess and treat behavioral or emotional problems, and facilitate overall adjustment. The psychology department also provides drug abuse treatment for those who have substance use disorders. Moreover, psychologists consult closely with psychiatry and will help determine any need for psychotropic medication. We also consult with other staff about the mental health needs of inmates and coordinate our services with other departments as appropriate.

To request an appointment with a psychologist, inmates may submit an Inmate Request to Staff form to the psychology department. Enrollment in counseling groups is generally offered on a “first¬come-first-serve” basis; to enroll, the inmate must stop by the department and place his name on the appropriate sign-up roster.

Twenty-four hour crisis intervention is available seven days a week to any inmate presenting a need for such. Inmates are encouraged to alert any staff member to their need for intervention; a psychologist will respond as appropriate. While staff are trained to recognize signs of distress and to refer inmates, the inmates, themselves, are strongly encouraged to notify staff of any behavior or situation that may suggest another inmate is upset and/or potentially suicidal. Common signs of suicide are depression, a loss of interest in activities, and/or major changes in appearance, mood, relationships, or routine. Importantly, if a fellow inmate makes statements that suggest he may be thinking of suicide, please take those statements seriously and refer him to a staff member.

All arrivals to the institution will be screened by a psychologist. This assessment will include a review of any past and current problems and may include an individual interview. The screening will provide the psychologist an opportunity to note and recommend potential needs for treatment.

Counseling Activities

There are many alternatives for inmates who have personal problems and desire to correct them. These options include alcoholics anonymous, self-esteem groups, and other voluntary groups. In addition, institutions have professional resource staff who are trained in various social science fields. Inmate participation in these activities will be encouraged upon the staff’s assessment of inmates’ needs; however, participation in such activities is voluntary. Staff of each unit are available for informal counseling sessions and they conduct formal group counseling activities.

Suicide Prevention and Intervention

It is not uncommon for people to experience feelings of depression and helplessness while in jail or prison, particularly if they are newly incarcerated, are serving a long sentence, are experiencing family problems or problems getting along with other inmates, or receiving bad news. Sometimes, inmates consider committing suicide due to all of the pressure they are under. Staff are trained to monitor inmates for signs of suicidality, and are trained to refer all concerns to the Psychology Department. However, staff does not always see what inmates see.

If you are personally experiencing any of the problems noted above, or you or another inmate are showing signs of depression (sadness, tearfulness, lack of enjoyment in usual activities), withdrawal (staying away from others, reducing phone calls and/or visits), or hopelessness (giving away possessions, stating that there is nothing to live for), PLEASE alert a staff member right away. Your input can save a life.

Lastly, the department maintains a self-help resource library that contains material available for review by interested inmates. You may access these materials by issuing your request to a psychology staff member. The department has an “open-door policy” and inmates are encouraged to access our services at anytime through the day. You may also submit a “cop-out” to request a session with a psychologist or drug treatment specialist.

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