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Mental Health & Wellbeing and Personality Disorders: a guide for criminal justice professionals

This guide has been commissioned by the Department of Justice (Northern Ireland), and developed by MindWise, to assist criminal justice professionals to support people who are vulnerable by virtue of mental or emotional ill-health to access fair justice and improve their mental health outcomes.

This guide is one of a series of guides being developed by the Department of Justice to provide information on issues that might make someone vulnerable in the CJS.

Who is the guide for?
The guide is for criminal justice professionals in all parts of the criminal justice system (CJS). This includes police officers, advocacy and support workers, solicitors, barristers, prosecutors, magistrates, the judiciary and courts and probation, prison, youth justice and Department of Justice staff.

Who is the guide about?
The guide is about all children, young people and adults with mental health conditions or issues, or personality disorders, who come into contact with the CJS. You may be in contact with them as victims, witnesses, suspects, defendants and or individuals who have been convicted of an offence and are serving sentences either in prison or the community. Your colleagues or people that you work with may also have mental health conditions or issues.

How can the guide help me?
The guide can help you to:

>> Be aware that there can be a link between being regularly involved in offending or becoming a victim and experiencing mental health issues;
>> Be aware of and understand the range of mental health conditions, mental health issues and personality disorders;
>> Recognise when an individual might be experiencing mental health distress;
>> Develop confidence and competence in working with an individual who is experiencing mental health distress;
>> Be aware of and access the support available.