Mental health services for individuals under supervision

Over 60% of the individuals under our supervision have been diagnosed with having an addiction, mental health needs or both.

BC Corrections is evolving and learning more about the complex people in our care, to create a more seamless support system with better outcomes, improved access to services and an enhanced continuity of care for this vulnerable population.

We partner with the Provincial Health Services Authority to provide health, mental health and addiction care to individuals in custody centres.

Every person in custody is assessed within 24 hours of admission to determine their health, mental health and addictions needs, with an emphasis on identifying ill patients, preventing self-harm, and providing support and treatment.

B.C. is the only province with a Director of Mental Health Services, and each of its correctional centres has:

  • Mental health professionals who co-ordinate services for people with mental illness.
  • Mental health liaison officers who are correctional officers with specialized training in supporting individuals with mental health needs.

Individuals who need mental health support in custody have specific case plans developed with their input, which may include individual or group therapy. Release plans are developed to connect individuals with services that will be available to them when they are released.

BC Corrections staff co-ordinate the assessment and treatment of people with mental health disorders who are supervised in the community. We work with the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission to link individuals with the proper supports to help them manage their mental health needs. Staff are also trained in cognitive behavioural techniques to motivate individuals and help them set goals.

Mental health strategy for corrections in Canada

BC Corrections led the development of the Mental Health Strategy for Corrections in Canada. The strategy seeks to ensure individuals in custody with mental health needs receive progressive, consistent and meaningful care in custody and after release.

The strategy includes seven key elements:

  • Mental health promotion
  • Screening and assessment
  • Treatment, services and support
  • Suicide and self-injury prevention and management
  • Transitional services and support
  • Staff education, training and support
  • Community support and partnerships