Having an understanding of mental health can be applied to many aspects in legal settings, which is why professionals are frequently brought on board to assist with things. In this article, you will learn about some of the various applications that mental health concepts can have in this field and understand their importance.
Psychology & Criminality
Perhaps the best-known use of mental health in the legal field is forensic psychology, due to its prevalence in the media, such as movies and TV shows.
Psychologists are often brought in to evaluate people who are accused and guilty of crimes and see what their state of mind was primarily at the time of the event that took place. However, they can also be assessed for their competency at the present time, which can, for instance, determine if an individual is mentally fit for trial.
Forensic psychologists also often witness in trials to present their findings, and they may also participate in criminal profiling to try to analyze behavioural patterns and figure out the possible motives of criminals.
Matters Involving Children
Mental health professionals, like psychologists and social workers, are frequently involved in cases concerning kids, such as abuse reports and custody cases.
Depending on the case, they can analyze the mindsets of both the children and the parents and give their best input. For example, if a psychologist determines that a parent is mentally unfit to care and provide, they will surely make a note of that.
Police Screening & Consulting
Mental health is extremely important not only when dealing with criminals and survivors, but also when collaborating with the individuals who enforce the law, such as police and correctional officers.
People who are interested in becoming officers of the law are screened beforehand to see where they are at mentally, but mental health professionals are also part of training programs to help existing officers be better at their jobs, such as improving communication and conflict management.
If they aren’t directly practicing in the field, forensic psychologists may also be found in law schools sharing their experience and expertise to students who are interested in practicing psychology and law.
However, even those who are studying to be future attorneys and who aspire to become prosecutors and judges will also benefit from classes that center around the psychology of the individuals they will interact with.
Rehabilitation & Treatment
Although mental health professionals are typically known for their role in solving crimes and the conviction process, they also have an important part in the rehabilitation process, especially for those who are exiting a correctional facility and reintegrating back into public life.
This can be a challenging time for these individuals, and counsellors and therapists can help former offenders learn important coping skills that they’ll need to be healthy and productive in society and decrease the risk of criminal activity in the future.
Most importantly, treatment will also be crucial for the victims and families of crimes, and there are many professionals who specialize in helping people overcome trauma, self-harm, substance use, and other consequences that can arise. If caught early, serious issues like these can be prevented by talking to someone and learning healthy ways of coping. You can learn more about mental health and coping with challenges by reading these articles.
As you can see, mental health is important for multiple parts of the legal field, and hopefully, by reading this article, you’ve learned specific ways where psychology and law can go hand-in-hand. It’s not just about dealing with criminals, but it’s also about helping the public who are affected by the actions of them as well.