PhD project An intervention study: There is a lack of studies looking at the mental health of prisoners in general but specifically young prisoners. Even less scarce are interventions aiming to improve the mental health of young prisoners. This is particularly relevant for Cambodia, a country with a traumatic history of war-related violence.
This research project aims to investigate the life skills and mental well-being of a sample of young prisoners and assess the potential effect of the life skills education intervention on those outcomes. In addition, the experiences of prisoners regarding their health and the perspectives of stakeholders on how to better deliver mental health services in prisons will be explored.
Research on the health and health care of prisoners in low-income countries is scant. The overall objective of present research collaboration is to improve the mental health of young inmates and to strengthen the health care system within the prisons in Cambodia. This will be done through the development of a collaborative partnership between researchers at the Caritas - Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CCAMH) in Phnom Penh and Department of Epidemiology and Global Health (EpiGH) at Umeå University. This will be achieved through the combination of five interlinked research and capacity building specific aims:
A. Research aims
a) To assess prevalence and pattern of mental health problems, suicidal behavior and life skills problems among young prisoners.
b) To evaluate the impact of the Life Skills Education intervention to promote mental health among young prisoners.
c) To develop a plan to strengthen the mental health care system in the selected prisons.
B. Capacity building and collaboration aims
1) To identify conceptual and methodological approaches to promote mental health among youth prisoners and the strengthening of mental health care system in prisons;
2) To build individual and institutional capacity in both research institutions in the areas above highlighted.
The proposed research collaboration can highlight the health situation of youth inmates, give voice to their needs and create a space of dialogue with prison authorities aiming to improve the mental health and health care in the prisons nationwide.