Mintern, here, reporting from basic training. Today was kind of a bummer. We spent all day learning about mental health awareness and learning trauma informed practices. A huge number of offenders in the prison system suffer from mental health issues. It’s important to acknowledge these issues and use fair, firm and consistent communication through an individualized approach in order to take the mental health of the offender into consideration during every single interaction.
We also talked about trauma informed practice. There is a large population of offenders who have experienced trauma in their lives. This means that the stressful prison environment is even more difficult. Anything could be a trigger that might cause the offender to be re-victimized.
Although we discussed mental health awareness and trauma informed practice for a full eight hours, we really only scratched the surface. I got an overview of mental health issues like borderline personality and schizophrenia, and I received information about talking with rape survivors and victims of PTSD. But I barely feel prepared to take on the responsibility of providing resources to such a diverse population. In hindsight, I wish I had taken a more interdisciplinary approach to my Master’s degree. It definitely would have paid off to have a class under my belt like abnormal psychology or human behavior.