#OTalk 13/9/16 – Media Club: The high price of criminalizing mental illness: Wendy Lindley at TEDxOrangeCoast

This #OTalk will be hosted by @BillWongOT

Mental health is an area we have core knowledge at as OT practitioners. We at least sometimes work with patients with mental health diagnoses across the lifespan- from kids to criminals. And for those of you who work in forensics/mental health settings, I am pretty sure this TEDx Talk will hit pretty close to home to you. Although I don’t claim to be a mental health expert, I think it is an awesome TEDx talk to do a media club on because we might see criminals with mental illness across different stages of life. From pediatrics point of view, it can be prevention in form of education of making appropriate life choices. From forensics mental health point of view, it can be relapse prevention of preventing them to commit crimes again. From geriatrics point of view (my current setting), it can be rehabilitation to maximize their quality of life.

When I heard this TEDx talk for the first time, the first thing I remembered was the few ex- sex offenders I worked with during my mental health placements in a sub-acute mental health unit. For these patients, even if they are discharged from the facility, they most likely will return to jail serving the remainder of their sentences. When I thought about that outcome, part of me felt that these people should serve their time (just like kids in school serving their detentions in school), but part of me felt that the ones with good potential to return to the community should be given the opportunity to transition to a lower level of care in terms of living situation goes (board and care, or supported housing, for example) like other discharged patients but with no criminal history. That said, like the old adage in OT- “no two cases are alike”. What is best for these criminals with mental illnesses in the justice system is really dependent on things such as the individual’s mental well-being, safety risk to self and others in community, and potential for recovery.

The link for the TEDx Talk is here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WxvUFzrMDc

Here are my discussion questions for the chat:

  1. Do you have any experiences working with ex-criminals in any setting? If so, please describe your experiences.
  2. If you have experiences working in mental health settings, what are some types of groups/individual sessions you run?
  3. What is your opinion of how criminals with mental illnesses should be treated in the justice system?
  4. Your comments or feedback on this TEDx Talk?

This chat has the potential to be a bit controversial and with the potential for differences of opinion. As always please remember codes of conduct in respect to confidentiality and professional behaviour and treat each other with respect – thanks – Kirsty.

 

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