Mental health, risk and antisocial behaviour in young offenders: challenges and opportunities

Sue Bailey, Robert Vermeiren and Paul Mitchell

in Young people and 'risk'

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9781847420008
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304364 | DOI:
Mental health, risk and antisocial behaviour in young offenders: challenges and opportunities

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This chapter examines the significant overlap between the risk factors for offending, poor mental health and substance use, and assessed risk factors. Research on the prevalence of mental disorders in youth justice has increased steadily over the years but it remains limited compared to the researches on adult mental disorders. In addition, mental health treatment within the youth justice system is lacking for those in need. In research conducted in 2003, only 20% of youths with mental disorders were receiving treatment. In terms of assessment and clinical assessment tools, it is necessary that the purpose and the feasibility of assessments such as needs and risk assessment should be considered. In addition to discussing the prevalence of mental disorders and the principles of assessing such disorders in youths, the chapter also discusses the different types of mental disorders that may be associated with offending. Such disorders are marked by anomalous perceptual experiences, abnormal reasoning, and motivational factors. Some of the disorders prevalent in children and that may result to violence and offending is: oppositional disorder, conduct disorder and ADHD; depression anxiety and PTSD; autism-spectrum disorders; and early on-set psychosis. In working with young people who offend, regardless of whether they are addressing offending behaviour or mental health problems, the developmental and cognitive factors significant to their age groups should be considered as interventions designed for adults prove to be alienating for youths.

Keywords: factors for offending; poor mental health; substance use; mental disorders; youth justice system; assessment; clinical assessment; needs assessment; risk assessment; oppositional disorder

Chapter.  7635 words.  Illustrated.

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