Journal article

A review of the psychiatric care provided to service users who subsequently offended

Mental health Assertive community treatment New Zealand

Background: An examination (audit) of the files of patients who had received any mental health services in the year prior to an alleged offence may inform our understanding of the relationship between mental health and crime. More helpfully, it may provide information to facilitate a reduction in the rate of such tragic events

Method: The records of all patients assessed by the Midland Regional Forensic Psychiatric service in the 26 months from January 2010 were screened. The 222 who received a diagnosis of a non-organic psychosis and who were recorded as having offended within one year of a previous psychiatric service attendance formed the cohort. The data extracted from their clinical files, relating primarily to that pre-offence psychiatric contact, included legal, clinical and contextual information.

Results: Analysis examined the characteristics of this forensic population and most particularly, of their pre-offending service contact. This identified clinical practice and delivery issues which could reduce the rate of conversion of psychiatric patients to “forensic” status.

Conclusions: The results inform issues of effectiveness of adult service delivery with particular consideration of the intensity of clinical contact, antipsychotic drug choice and adherence and the use of assertive treatment.

Publication Details