PTSD in previously incarcerated individuals and the importance of mental rehabilitation

According to the American Psychiatric Association, post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. The term PTSD has become more common in our culture, but it also has several other names you might recognize, including “shell shock” and “combat fatigue.” These names, which are most often affiliated with military service, have declined in popularity as our understanding of PTSD increases. While PTSD is still often associated with veterans or active military professionals, the truth is that PTSD is much more far-reaching. Research shared by the American Psychiatric Association indicates that it affects approximately 3.5% of U.S. adults, with estimates showing one out of 11 adults will be diagnosed in their lifetime.

Incarcerated individuals are more likely to experience PTSD than the general population, with estimated rates of occurrence from 4% to 21%. While the exact reason for PTSD varies from person to person, it does make sense that prisoners experience PTSD more often. Incarceration alone can cause PTSD, and people within prisons sometimes share common life experiences that are linked with PTSD  – from abusive home situations to traumatic experiences earlier in life.

To assist our students who have PTSD and other mental illnesses, HopeWorks provides pre-release programming inside the Shelby County Division of Corrections. Each participant receives cognitive behavioral intervention through one-on-one and group counseling, as well as work readiness training, instruction from Getting Ahead While Getting Out and financial management training.

During counseling sessions, students receive guidance from counseling professionals to help them navigate the root of their trauma and provide coping tactics and strategies that best fit their individual needs. This process can provide peace of mind, proving to students that someone is in their corner and is ready to listen, learn and teach skills to help them create a life for themselves.PTSD in previously incarcerated individuals and the importance of mental rehabilitation

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