The use and readability of mental health self-help in Scottish prisons

L.C.D. Dunlop, Daniel M Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prisoners are at higher risk of mental health problems than people in the general community. One possible way of optimising mental health care resources in prisons is to offer self-help materials. In order for these to be effective, they must be appropriate for the reading ability of the patient. This study aimed to determine, by way of a survey distributed to Scottish mental health care teams, how self-help resources are being used currently in the Scottish prison system, and to analyse the materials using four different readability tools: FRE, FKGL, SMOG and the Drivel Defence programme. It was found that there is currently widespread provision of self-help to Scottish prisoners; however, only 53% of these materials are suitable for the quoted average prisoner reading age. Mental health practitioners should be aware of this when providing self-help to patients, and consider easy-read options where available.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-399
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date15 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • readability
  • self-help
  • prison
  • mental health


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