Mental Health Awareness Month – Recognizing the Need for Resources in Correctional Facilities and Providing Access to Help

Through tablet applications, GTL offers incarcerated individuals ways to regain control of their mental health and overcome barriers to treatment


Falls Church, Virginia (AccessWire) – May 13, 2021 – GTL, a trusted partner that connects those affected by incarceration with the resources and support necessary to achieve success, today reiterated its support for Mental Health Awareness Month and the organizations that support it, including Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the American Psychological Association, and more. May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month for over 70 years and is a time to raise awareness about mental and behavioral health issues, the people that live with them, and the stigma that they experience.

It is no secret that the United States has more incarcerated individuals than any other country in the world. Even with only 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has nearly 25 percent of its incarcerated individuals—totaling about 1.8 million in 2020. But an even more startling fact is that in every county in the United States, there are more individuals with mental illness incarcerated than hospitalized.

In 2005, the Bureau of Justice Statistics concluded that 56% of state prisoners, 45% of Federal prisoners, and 64% of jailed inmates suffered from a mental illness. However, less than a quarter of these individuals received treatment during incarceration.

“The stigma surrounding mental health issues continues to lessen with more awareness and open discussion; however, incarcerated individuals and their suffering are often forgotten about,” said Nena Staley, GTL Director, Reentry Programs. “Through GTL tablets, we are able to bring resources inside correctional facilities and start providing treatment during incarceration, which is able to be continued after release.”

GTL introduced several new initiatives to help address the emotional and mental health of incarcerated individuals. By partnering with Pamela Hayes, incarcerated individuals can access an Art Therapy app on GTL tablets at no cost. Art therapy is an effective mental health treatment for individuals who have experienced trauma, medical illness, depression, and social difficulties. It can help reduce anxiety, refine communication skills, and teach individuals how to better handle feelings of frustration, disappointment, and anger.

In addition, GTL has partnered with Dr. Christian Conte, one of the country’s most accomplished mental health specialists in the field of anger and emotional management. This partnership will result in exclusive content for incarcerated individuals and correctional institutions, helping them practically apply Dr. Conte’s Yield Theory approach, which combines radical compassion with conscious education for the effective treatment of anger issues.

Mental illness often goes hand in hand with substance abuse—known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. Over 50% of incarcerated individuals meet the criteria for drug dependence or abuse, and again, less than a quarter of those individuals receive treatment during their time in a correctional facility. Through a partnership with Breaking Free Group, GTL offers the “Breaking Free from Substance Abuse” digital program on tablets to assist incarcerated individuals in achieving and maintaining recovery from dependence on over 70 different substances.

Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has added another layer of complexity to the issue of mental illness inside correctional facilities. NAMI’s message for Mental Health Awareness Month is “You Are Not Alone.” While true, incarcerated individuals today may feel more disconnected from their loved ones and more alone than ever in their struggle against mental illness. For that reason, GTL began a free weekly communications program that allows incarcerated individuals to connect with their loved ones, receive support, and continue keeping a positive outlook about their situation.

“It is okay to not be okay, but we must do everything we can to provide meaningful solutions that can help address mental health illnesses both inside correctional facilities and outside,” concluded Ms. Staley. “NAMI’s slogan of ‘You Are Not Alone’ is true because there are dozens of national organizations and hundreds of other treatment programs that can provide a stable, guiding force for those that feel like they are spiraling out of control. As Mental Health Awareness Month, May shines a spotlight on mental illness, its ties to substance abuse, and its role in incarceration. However, it needs to be a consideration all year long.”


About GTL

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, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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