The Bureau provides a full range of mental health treatment through staff psychologists and psychiatrists. The Bureau also provides forensic services to the courts, including a range of evaluative mental health studies outlined in Federal statutes.
Psychologists are available for formal counseling and treatment on an individual or group basis. In addition, staff in an inmate’s housing unit are available for informal counseling. Services available through the institution are enhanced by contract services from the community.
The Bureau recognizes that incarceration can be stressful for both inmates and their family members. Consequently, the agency works diligently to provide education to staff and inmates on suicide prevention. Every staff member receives annual training on this important topic, and many receive additional semiannual training.
After an inmate arrives at an institution, during the admission and orientation process, every inmate receives information on mental health services available at that site. Psychology Services staff at each facility provides crisis intervention and support services as needed. The Bureau's suicide rate is lower than that of the United States population as a whole, and this appears to be related to the agency's rigorous training and prevention efforts. However, one life lost is one too many. Therefore, BOP staff is ever-vigilant in their efforts to both prevent suicide and respond rapidly to potential crises.
As a family member or friend, it may come to your attention during visits and telephone calls, or through letters or e-mails, that an inmate in the BOP's care is in a state of crisis and contemplating suicide. If this occurs, immediately contact the institution where that person is located to inform BOP staff of your concern. With this information, institution staff can follow up to determine if a suicide risk exists and provide appropriate intervention, as indicated.
The resources listed below (not affiliated with BOP) contain valuable information on suicide prevention, including recognizing warning signs: