Authors: Devon Idig, Craig Gear, Kay Wilhelm, Jill Bowman, Peter Johnston
Event: 2016 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Substance Abuse Disorders, co-morbidity, funding, government policy, research & evaluation informing practice, study
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: This study investigated the prevalence and co-occurrence of mental health and substance use disorders among New Zealand prisoners. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0 and the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire 4+ were used to assess the prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders. The sample included 1209 New Zealand prisoners across 13 prisons.
Nearly all (91%) prisoners had a lifetime diagnosis of a mental health or substance use disorder and 62% had this diagnosis in the past 12-months, with significantly higher rates among females. One in five prisoners were found to have a 12-month diagnosis of a comorbid mental health and substance use disorder, while 42% were found to have a lifetime comorbidity diagnosis. Fewer than half (46%) of prisoners with a 12-month diagnosis of any mental disorder received some form of mental health treatment in the past year.
The findings of this study provide important evidence to assist with identifying areas for improved detection, early intervention, treatment and rehabilitation and diversion away from the criminal justice system. In particular, the findings suggest that improved integration of mental health and substance use disorder treatment would be an important strategy for improving the health and reducing re-offending among prisoners.