Mapping the prison mental health service workforce in Australia.
- SAGE Publications
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Australasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, 2020, 28, (4), pp. 442-447
- Issue Date:
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ObjectiveThe rapidly growing number of people in prison in Australia, combined with the high prevalence of mental disorder in this population, results in high demand for mental health services in prison settings. Despite their critical role as part of a national mental health response, prison mental health services (PMHS) in Australia have been poorly characterised. In this paper, we describe findings of the first national survey of PMHS in Australia.
MethodsWe distributed a survey to key representatives of PMHS in all Australian states and territories in 2016.
ResultsOur method constitutes a replicable process for quantifying and comparing PMHS in Australia. We describe the structure, governance and staffing models in seven jurisdictions. When compared against international recommendations, only one Australian jurisdiction (the ACT) is funded to provide services at a level equivalent to mental health services provided in the community.
ConclusionPrison mental health services in Australia are delivered by a complex mix of government, private sector and non-government services. Services appear to be severely under-resourced when compared with the available benchmarks.
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