For us at Prisoners Abroad, World Health Day is an opportunity to think about people all over the world and to remember how important health is, and how crucial it is to maintain it always.
We support people imprisoned in varying conditions: poor sanitation, overcrowding, isolation, and many of which can have a detrimental effect on health. Being incarcerated can be a very stressful experience, and can sometimes affect a person’s mental health. The theme for this year’s #WorldHealthDay is ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’, and it therefore seemed appropriate to talk about the increased risk of experiencing depression when put in a prison environment.
92 overseas prisoners (9% of the 1,007 we are currently working with) say they suffer from depression.
We provide language materials to people in prison to help them learn the language to communicate better with people around them – hoping to alleviate feelings of isolation or depression where possible.
“The language book I asked for and received made me feel like people are actually listening and care about the situation I am in.” – A prisoner in Spain
We also have a pen-pal scheme in which people write to someone in prison which often helps alleviate feelings of loneliness and depression.
“It has restored my faith in people by having somebody who does not judge me for my alleged crime but takes me for the person that I am.” – A prisoner in France
“Writing to my penpal is helping me to recover my self-confidence.” – A prisoner in Spain
Our Spring Appeal this year focuses on the isolation of a young woman named Tina, read her story and please help support us by donating to this appeal. We are continuing to support British people in prison all over the world.
Listen here to a fascinating podcast produced by Amnesty International. In his own words, Albert Woodfox, who spent 43 years in solitary confinement in the USA, vividly recalls his struggle to stay sane and avoid depression in such conditions, and describes the effects they had on others around him.