Even though juvenile delinquents may come across as tough and unafraid, ending up in a detention facility may impact them more than you realize. Feelings of isolation, loneliness, guilt, anger and hopelessness may trigger mental illness.
If you have a loved one living in a juvenile detention facility, you may benefit from knowing some of the mental health risks that youth could face under such circumstances. With your knowledge, you may have the resources to provide unconditional love and support during a difficult time.
While a staggering number of detained youths already suffer from psychological instabilities, many facilities lack the resources to provide adequate mental health support. Some of the serious, underlying risk factors your loved one may face include the following:
- Decreased social interaction
- Mental health disorders
- Disciplinary issues
Such serious risks could trigger ongoing feelings of despair which can create worse problems including suicidal thoughts. According to The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, results of a 2018 study showed that 98% of participating facilities reported they had conducted suicidal evaluations on juvenile detainees during that year.
Your ability to provide relentless support and encouragement may help to improve your family member’s outlook and optimism. As appropriate, involve your loved one in the legal process. Encourage participation in facility-sponsored social activities. Discuss educational aspirations. If possible, establish a visitation schedule. Help your family member create healthy boundaries. Look into counseling to help your loved one learn how to process emotions and respond to triggers in a productive manner.
With the right support and a reliable defense team, your loved one can have a second chance at living a happy life. Your effort to love unconditionally may make a considerable difference in your family member’s ability to overcome the past.