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AWARE – mental health awareness in the justice system

Target Audience
Prison / probationFirst responders or practitionersLocal community organisations/NGOs
key themes association
Prison and probationTraining
Peer Reviewed practice


Freie Hansestadt Bremen, Senatorin für Justiz und Verfassung

Type of Organisation: Governmental institution

Project description

Guidelines released by the Council of Europe in November 2019 recommend that prison staff and probation practitioners receive basic training, which raises awareness of the mental health needs of convicted persons, including information on sources of wider support.

Amongst other advice on countering violent extremism in prison, the RAN Mental Health Conclusions Paper from September 2020 delivers practical advice on the training of prison staff on mental health and P/CVE-related issues (including health workers, prison administrators and prison guards).

The need for a holistic approach to P/CVE in criminal justice is identified, in which prison and probation officers must receive basic training in identification of mental health issues, in support of medical treatment already being delivered, and in psychosocial aspects and human rights.

The reality is, however, that prison and probation staff receive very little to no mental health basic training. The AWARE study manual, therefore, is a first step to raising awareness of mental health needs in the criminal justice system. It is a free, online resource to fill an essential and growing gap.

The manual delivers first basic information on mental health issues for non-medical prison and probation staff. It goes on to highlight the ways in which multi-agency cooperation in prison can make identification and resource management more effective and efficient. It ends by raising awareness of the challenges and possible solutions for people with mental health issues on the pathway to release and post imprisonment.

Each of the four modules is complemented by case studies, examples of transferrable practice, discussion points, AWARE infographics and links to online resources and activities.

On the website, the AWARE manual is available as an online downloadable PDF (linked to further resources on the project website) in English, German, Portuguese, Romania, Bulgarian and Greek.

The material is also available and as an open access Moodle course in English, German and Portuguese. It is designed to be used with no prior medical training, either by a staff trainer or by anyone in the system who identifies as mental health champion.

Also available on the AWARE website are infographics in five languages, to download as awareness raising ‘conversation starters’ for staff rooms or learning use.


All deliverables developed in this Erasmus+ project are free and open access:

AWARE Mental Health Awareness Training Study Manual is available as a PDF and a Moodle course via the website, in English, German, Portuguese (both formats) Romanian, Bulgarian and Greek (manual only).

AWARE Policy and Practice Handbook giving concrete practices, linked to key findings as well as recommendations for decision-makers (available via the website in PDF in English, German, Portuguese, Romania, Bulgarian and Greek).

Library ( of ‘Conversation-starting’ infographics tailored to MH in Criminal Justice and available to download for the wall of the staff room! In English, German, Portuguese, Romania, Bulgarian and Greek.

The AWARE Communities of Practice on LinkedIn (13) Mental Health Needs in the Criminal Justice System | Groups | LinkedIn and on Facebook Затворът и психичното здраве. Prison and mental health. ( are ongoing groups for practitioners in this field to exchange practice, to learn and to network.

Multi-Agency Glossary of Criminal Justice and Mental Health Terms

Other educational resources (

Media (


Contact details


Freie Hansestadt Bremen Die Senatorin für Justiz und Verfassung
Abt. 403 EU Projekt Koordination
Richtweg 16-22
28195 Bremen

Contact person: Rhianon Williams
Telephone: (+49) 17681124009
Email| Website

Read the full practice

AWARE – mental health awareness in the justice system
(198.6 KB - PDF)