Engager is a novel intervention for supporting prisoners with common mental health problems to achieve their goals.
University and peer researchers have developed a system of care that aims to help people in prison, leading up to and following release. We want to know how well this package of care is working and whether it can be improved.
Problem to be addressed
Offenders suffer from a range of health problems, both while in prison and after their release. More than half have a mental health problem of some kind. While prison healthcare has improved over the last decade, mental healthcare is minimal except for those with the most severe problems. Additionally, care after leaving prison is particularly lacking for those serving short sentences. Addressing offenders' mental health problems could lead to considerable gains: to the offenders' own health; to the wellbeing of their families and communities; along with wider economic and social benefits due to reductions in reoffending.
The Engager project is a five-year project, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grant for Applied Research (PGfAR), to develop and evaluate a collaborative care intervention for offenders with common mental health problems, near to and after release. This research is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula (NIHR CLAHRC South West Peninsula). The views expressed are those of the team and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the department of Health and Social Care.
The project is based at two sites, one in the Northwest and one in the Southwest of England.
The aim of the Engager project is to develop a way of organising care for men with common mental health problems, as they approach being released from prison. We propose that the intervention will act as a bridge between a range of services inside and outside of the prison, which this group do not normally access. An Engager practitioner worked with each person to develop a shared understanding of their individual goals, and worked with them to engage with services that helped them work towards achieving these goals.