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An exploration of male offenders experiences of access to mental health services, education and training while under the management of the Community Rehabilitation Company

  • Harrison, Diane Michelle
Publication Date
Dec 08, 2020
Manchester eScholar
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Abstract Research into the subject of probation is often limited to professional perspectives, rarely accessing the views of the service-user. The mental health of those on probation is an under-researched area with nothing on the experiences of this population in relation to access of mental health services and further education or vocational training. This primary research used a social constructivist paradigm and conducted twelve semi-structured interviews with young men aged 18-25 who were being managed by probation services. The data was analysed using Braun and Clarke's Reflexive Thematic Analysis and was coded line by line. Analysis of the data developed seven themes, each of which incorporated additional subthemes. The main themes were: The continued impact of a difficult childhood and its subsequent influence on accessing adult support services; Feeling rejected being rejected; The role of illicit substances in mental health difficulties; Obstacles to accessing rehabilitation and support services; Experience and knowledge of mental health services, further education or vocational training; Education and training to improve employability; and the role of positive relationships. The themes identified how personal histories played a pivotal role in the participant actions and subsequent reactions. Findings recognised how multiple factors influenced whether the participants accessed support services. The establishment of positive relationships, including that of offender and offender-manager, offered insights into how the participants could benefit from the building of trusting relationships. While there were a variety of practical and environmental obstacles to the participants access to support services, it was often due to a lack of awareness and knowledge. Recommendations: Further research should reflect the differing mental health needs of those in probation and how these needs could be better met. Furthermore, an exploration of how counselling psychology, with its social justice perspective, could advocate on behalf of this excluded population would be useful.

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