The European Comparative Analysis and Transfer of Knowledge on Mental Health Resources for Young Offenders (MHYO) is an innovative and sustainable project aimed at sharing knowledge and expertise in the field of young offenders with mental health (MH) issues. Therefore, The European Commission’s Directorate General for Justice, Liberty and Security has supported the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) since the end of 2009 in the development, follow up and the leading action of the present project for analysis and comparison between European organisations that share an interest in the current situation of child and young offenders with mental health problems in Europe.
European Union Member States have to face similar issues when dealing with health, social, and justice institutions. The project aims to bring about innovative mechanisms for implementing a change and convergence, which foster all young offenders’ institutions and judicial services across the EU. There is a specific need for local, regional and national mental health institutions within the juvenile justice system in terms of MH resources for young offenders, as well as, mutual cooperation between bodies and agents with common responsibilities.
The project’s global strategy focused on the analysis of the national health and judicial systems for young offenders with mental health disorders aged between 10 and 21 years old, in order to promote the necessary changes both in policy and practice, as well as to agree on minimum standards concerning the functioning of the institutions in both sectors. As a result of this research, the lack of specific mental health programmes within juvenile justice systems in the different countries became evident. Based on the findings, the project has created a training and good practice framework adapted to the needs of professionals working in the areas of development and psychological processes of young people, within an integrated and multidisciplinary perspective of the justice and health systems.
The ultimate goal of the MHYO programme during the two years is the future development of good practices and tailored professional training on young people’s evolutionary and psychological processes, taking into account their individual needs, from an integrative and multidisciplinary perspective on the part of the justice and health systems.
- October 2010 - London - 1st MHYO Meeting
Programme Focus Group of national experts in the UK
- April 2011 - Utrecht - 2nd MHYO Meeting
As a conclusion of this research, the lack of specific mental health programmes within juvenile justice systems in the different countries became evident. Based on the findings, the project created training tools and a good practice framework adapted to the needs of professionals working in the areas of development and psychological processes of young people, within an integrated and multidisciplinary perspective of the justice and health systems.
The results of the current project are presented in two volumes - first Volume I 'Mental Health Resources and Young Offenders: State of art, challenges and good practices', and second Volume II ‘MHYO Manual for improving professional knowledge and skills, and developing advocacy programme’. The first section of this Manual sets out training tools for improving professionals' knowledge and skills, and the second section includes recommendations and an advocacy programme. In its finalized version, Volume I is 564 pages and Volume II is 148 pages long.