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Archived - Government of Canada launches Mental Health Action Plan to treat complex mental illnesses among federal offenders

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Five Pillars - Mental Health Action Plan for federal offenders includes new partnerships with provincial facilities.

May 1, 2014    Ottawa,Ontario    Public Safety Canada

The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today announced the Government of Canada's launch of a comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan for federal offenders that is addressing their serious mental health needs. The Action Plan for federal offenders contains five pillars which are: timely assessment, effective management, sound intervention, ongoing training, and robust governance and oversight.

As a key component of the intervention pillar, Minister Blaney announced that the Government of Canada's agreement in principle with The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group for a pilot project that would expand the government's capacity to meet the needs of offenders with the most complex mental health needs.

As part of the pilot project, The Royal's Brockville Mental Health Centre in Ontario would provide bed space to treat women offenders with serious mental health needs.  This provincial mental health centre, along with L'Institut Philippe Pinel in Montreal, Quebec and the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia are part of a concerted effort by the Government of Canada to enhance the Correctional Service of Canada's capacity to effectively and appropriately treat offenders with serious mental health needs through agreements with provincial healthcare systems.

The Government of Canada recognizes the growing impact of mental health needs on the federal offender population. This is just one aspect of the ongoing response to the recommendations of the jury from the Coroner's Inquest into the tragic death of Ashley Smith.

Quick Facts

  • The Mental Health Action Plan for treating federal offenders contains five pillars: Assessment, Management, Intervention, Training, and Governance and Oversight.
  • Recent statistics show that at admission, 13% of male offenders and 29 % of women offenders in federal custody self-identified as having mental health needs.
  • CSC's overall Mental Health Strategy is based on research and evidence-based interventions.   CSC's approach to preventing suicide and self-injury contributes to the reduction and prevention of these behaviours.
  • Research indicates that, among women offenders with a history of self-injury, up to 93% of these offenders had self-injured prior to admission to a CSC institution.  
  • CSC remains vigilant, as preserving life is an ongoing duty and staff must stay attentive 24/7 to the safety and security of offenders and staff.

Quotes

“As part of our Mental Health Action Plan for federal offenders, our government has agreement in principle for a pilot project between the Correctional Service of Canada and The Royal's Brockville Mental Health Centre.  As part of a sound intervention strategy, this project will provide expanded capacity to treat federal offenders with the most serious mental health needs.   Developing a partnership with The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group offers a timely opportunity to further our efforts to better manage those offenders with the highest needs through provincial healthcare partnerships. ”
- The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“We know that a significant number of offenders, especially women offenders, suffer from some form of mental illness and that those who receive treatment are not only healthier but they are also less likely to reoffend. We look forward to building our partnership with the Correctional Service of Canada that will bring specialized mental health treatment to severely ill women offenders improving the safety of these women and giving them a chance at a better life upon release.”
- George Weber, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Royal

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Contacts

Jason Tamming
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
613-991-2924

Media Relations
Correctional Service Canada
613-992-7711

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For more information, please visit the website www.publicsafety.gc.ca.


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