In order to design an efficient metal health program for the inmates the primordial consideration is to determine the mental health of the patients in general. Once, it is determined who has normal psychology and who are in need of special assistance with respect to mental health they can be segregated. Only upon segregation can treatment of mentally ill-patients commence and the needed resources can be allocated and employed properly. This paper will discuss a plan to segregate mentally ill inmates and treat them as well as prevent them from causing harm to themselves or mentally sound patients.
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The first consideration is to determine the which of the patients will require special care. As can be seen from the case, mentally-ill patients are a bane to others as well as themselves. Two inmates, as a result of their mental incapacity, have committed suicide in the last 60 days. Moreover, another insane inmate was raped. Clearly they cannot be allowed to mingle with the other inmates who do not have any mental illness. Hence, what must be done is to screen the patients inmates to see which of them may be suffering from some form of mental illness.
The simplest, albeit most time consuming for the chief of mental health services and his staff, method of determining the mental health of the inmates is by simple observation of their behavior. Those that show abnormal behavior will be marked down for further observation and possible testing. Given that imprisonment is on its own a very stressful thing it is possible that many inmates who are exhibiting unusual behavior may simply be reacting to the stress that their environment is imposing on them. It is therefore, necessary not to jump to conclusions and assume that abnormal behavior immediately translates to mental illness. Thus, a second tier of further observation and screening will be necessary before an inmate can be said to be possibly suffering from a mental illness.
Those who are still determined to be mentally ill after the second tier of screening will then be diagnosed by the chief of health services with the assistance, if available, of a psychiatrist in order to determine what kind of disease the patient is suffering from. At this stage the mentally ill patients will be categorized into two groups. The first group will be made up of those who are suffering from mental illness which are relatively benign or can be treated with mild intervention only for example, those who are suffering from manic depression due to their incarceration. The second group will be composed of inmates who are suffering serious mental illness that requires institutionalization and serious treatment. Paranoid schizophrenics and those who have Multiple personality disorder will be in this category.
Once properly sorted the mentally ill patients can now be treated properly, those who fall under the first category will remain at large among the other prisoners. However, they will be closely observed should their condition deteriorate. The chief of health services will request for additional funds in order to provide for the medication that these patients will need. Other than observation, medication and counseling these inmates will be treated just like the other inmates. After all, even if they are suffering from illness they are not sufficiently abnormal to justify the expense and effort of keeping them separated from the other inmates. However, should their condition deteriorate they may be moved to the second category.
The second tier of mentally ill patients are those who are suffering from illness which are severe and may cause harm to themselves and their fellow inmates. If possible, the chief of health services will request that these people be placed in mental health institutions where proper care and medication can be provided. If this is not possible, then they shall be placed in separate holding cells away from the general population and they will receive such treatment and aid as the facilities of the prison can afford to give them.
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