A Mother’s Concern for her son’s Mental Health

Susie contacted Families Outside after her son was sentenced to Polmont Young Offenders Institution. Susie’s son had a history of mental illness and received support from a psychiatric nurse (CPN) in the community. He had made a number of suicide attempts whilst at home, and the family had very high levels of anxiety about his mental health while he was in prison.

Families Outside was able to arrange a meeting with the Family Contact Officers in Polmont as well as with key mental health staff and hall managers. Susie was able to share a lot of the family history, and the CPN was able to share medical notes with the mental health team. The prison staff were able to allay a lot of the family’s fears around their son’s safety by sharing the Act2Care policy (the suicide risk management procedure within the prison – now called the ‘Talk to Me’ strategy).

This is very much a person-centered approach, adapting to the needs of the individual person in prison. The staff also gave direct contact numbers to the family to call if they had any concerns. This two-way, face-to-face conversation meant that the family’s anxiety was reduced, and care for their son was at its best due to the sharing of information.

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