Providing resources to improve the mental and emotional health of incarcerated individuals during Suicide Prevention Month
FALLS CHURCH, Va. — GTL, a trusted partner that connects those affected by incarceration with the resources and support necessary to achieve success, today announced its support of National Suicide Prevention Month and the need for increased focus on suicide prevention within correctional facilities.
Across the United States, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for all age groups, and the second leading cause of death for individuals aged 10–34. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person dies from suicide every 11 minutes—an average of 130 people every single day just in the United States alone.
While these numbers are distressing in and of themselves, it is even worse for incarcerated individuals. Over 37 percent of Federal prisoners and 44 percent of jail inmates were diagnosed with a mental disorder, and in many states, there are more individuals with mental illness in correctional facilities than in psychiatric hospitals. To complicate matters, these facilities often do not have the resources or budget to counteract the rising percentage of their population with mental illness or the associated suicide rates. In fact, suicides are the leading cause of death for jails, accounting for almost 30 percent of deaths in 2018.
“Our platforms and programs are designed to foster a safe environment within a correctional facility while providing necessary resources for those incarcerated” said Matthew Caesar, GTL executive vice president, customer solutions. “With phone calls, messages, and video visits, they can keep in contact with their support networks, gaining strength and hearing messages of affirmation and encouragement. With tablets, they can improve their mental wellbeing, focus on positivity, and work toward successful reentry. What led a person to incarceration is most likely the lowest point in their entire life—we will continue to offer resources that promote healing and help them reach new heights.”
GTL tablets are constantly updated with new resources to assist incarcerated individuals in the process of rehabilitation. Through partnerships with organizations and individuals, GTL provides access to programming that can help individuals find the good in every day and look forward to release.
- Dr. Christian Conte – A partnership with a top mental health specialist in the field of anger and emotional management allows GTL to add unique content to tablets that focuses on the mental and emotional health of incarcerated individuals.
- Peace Education Program from The Prem Rawat Foundation – A workshop series with 10 sessions focused on thought-provoking themes to improve mental health and wellbeing by renewing a sense of purpose in participants.
- Hayes Art Therapy – Using different art materials can help individuals regulate their emotions and behaviors, including reducing anxiety, enhancing communication skills, and better handling frustration, disappointment, and anger.
- Breaking Free from Substance Abuse – Mental illness and substance abuse often go hand in hand as a dual diagnosis, and Breaking Free can assist individuals in achieving and maintaining recovery from dependence on over 70 different substances.
- Free Communication Program – GTL provides every incarcerated individual at its customer facilities with a free weekly baseline of communication to ensure consistent connections with the people that matter most.
GTL tablets have the ability to decrease suicide attempts and ideations, inmate-on-inmate violence, inmate-on-staff assaults, and behavior code violations at facilities where they are deployed. Incarcerated individuals can spend their time in a positive manner, not only with these rehabilitative-focused programs, but also with music, eBooks, movies, games, educational courses, religious texts, and more.
“The tablet resources promote connectedness, teach coping and problem-solving skills, offer methods for safe reporting and messaging, and support people at risk,” concluded Caesar. “Facilities can put a tablet in their population’s hands and open up an entire new world of resources.”
Suicide is a national crisis. If you or someone you know is struggling, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
For over 30 years, GTL has worked side-by-side with correctional facilities and government agencies to provide imperative technology solutions to over 1.2 million incarcerated individuals across the globe. These solutions facilitate meaningful connections, provide educational opportunities, enable successful reentry, and strengthen operational efficiency. GTL is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, with an employee presence throughout North America and was recognized as a 2021 Top Workplace USA by Energage. To learn more about GTL, please visit www.gtl.net, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.