Reducing drug-related harms and improving mental health among people released from incarceration: a case for continuity of care.
Presented by Dr Jesse Young, a NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow in the Justice Health Unit at The University of Melbourne specialising in psychiatric epidemiology with leading expertise in data linkage methodology
Despite an urgent call to action by the World Health Organization over a decade ago, mental illness and substance use disorders remain highly prevalent among people in prison, and this prevalence is increasing rapidly in some jurisdictions. Although improving the health of people with mental disorders who experience incarceration is increasingly recognised as a key component of public health, substantial gaps in evidence remain and hinder the capacity of community-based mental healthcare and alcohol and other drug service providers to develop targeted, evidence-informed responses to the health needs of people released from prison. Therefore, true ‘throughcare’ is at best aspirational in most jurisdictions and contact with the criminal justice system remains a public health opportunity missed. This seminar will present findings on service use patterns and health outcomes for people with mental health and substance use disorders released from prison generated from several of the largest cohort studies to link routinely collected administrative health and justice data, globally. Implications for policy and practice will be discussed.