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Switchback has today published a new report investigating the mental health of people leaving prison.

You can read the Mental Health and Prison Release Report PDF document here.

We were delighted to have received funding from Clinks to support a small scale peer-led research project with our Experts by Experience board to focus on the needs, barriers and solutions for people leaving prison when it comes to mental health.

The funding allowed us to work with a professional team from Toynbee Hall and members of our Experts by Experience board to see how we can apply the Participatory Action Research methodology to issues impacting prison-leavers. This qualitative study provided an opportunity for members of the EBE board to build professional skills as researchers that could help them to develop skills that could lead them into a career in policy.

The report focuses on prison-leavers’ mental health. We know that the experience of prison-release can cause high levels of anxiety. At the same time mental health care in prison and especially after release is minimal and worsening.

Meanwhile at Switchback, over the last two years we have seen a 15% rise in the number of our Trainees with identified mental health needs (from 29% to 44%).

This report highlights the urgent need for us to reshape the way we release people from prison. We are calling for better mental health support for people leaving prison and for a prison release system that responds to the emotional challenges that people leaving prison are facing. A system that supports people to live life differently.

The experiences included within the report demonstrate inequities in access to care for people from ethnic minority backgrounds, with 90% of Switchback Trainees being from an ethnic minority background. Importantly mental health was a repeated topic of discussion in our Experts by Experience meetings, and together we decided we wanted to do something about it.

Mental Health Report 2024 in partnership with our Experts by Experience

We invite anyone who is interested in finding out more, or collaborating with us on our Influencing and Communications work to email –

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