Maintaining mental wellbeing in prison is essential in ensuring that people who are incarcerated are rehabilitated whilst serving their sentence. We help maintain the mental health of British prisoners overseas by providing dictionaries to assist them with learning a language, helping them with communication skills and reducing cultural isolation. We also provide educational books to keep their minds active, and help tackle loneliness, whilst maintaining social skills, preparing them for a life outside prison.

During Mental Health Awareness Week we wanted to post a list of recommended books which we have previously published in our newsletter. The newsletter is sent to everyone we support in prison overseas. The article outlines the story of JS, who wrote his thoughts down in his journal whilst he was imprisoned in the USA which helped him through his time in detention. The recommended books reading list has been written by JS.

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an organisation dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. The charity offers support to men in the UK, of any age, who are feeling low or in crisis – through the helpline, website or webchat, defying a culture that prevents men seeking help when they need it. They push for changes in policy and practice to help ensure suicide is better prevented, and they also provide support to those bereaved by suicide.

Suicide levels in prison are rising in prisons in the UK and Wales. In January, the Ministry of Justice said there were 119 self-inflicted deaths – 29 more than the previous year and the highest number since records began in 1978.

At Prisoners Abroad, we provide emotional support and advice to people in prison overseas who are often suffering with depression and anxiety. Being further from home can increase levels of depression, so we also help prisoners keep in regular contact with their loved ones by providing freepost envelopes. Our penpal service also reduces loneliness and anxiety for those imprisoned miles from home.

Watch fascinating video discussion ‘My Mind and Me’ BBC Radio 1 Xtra

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