Looking after mental health while in prison - a free resource for prisoners and chaplains

The Mental Health Foundation has developed an accessible and informative resource for male prisoners on how to look after their mental health whilst in prison. This guide is not only helpful for those serving sentences, but it has also proved useful for those supporting prisoners, such as prison charities and chaplains.

We are grateful to The Salvation Army Prison Ministries Unit for making us aware of this resource. They have been working closely with the Mental Health Foundation who, after producing this excellent free resource, are keen to share it widely and get it into prisons, so it can support those who are in need.

Inside the guide, there are links to other support organisations, general advice and guidance, as well as 10 tips for looking after one’s mental health in prison. These tips have come from prisoners themselves as well as researchers working in prison…

You can read more about this and download it for free, here.

(photo courtesy of Erol Ahmed at Unsplash)

Are we free to do what is right?

Are we free to do what is right? This is a profound and challenging question that Prisons Week asks on behalf of those who are working in the criminal justice (CJ) system.

As we continue following the theme of Freedom this week, we ask this, in support of men and women who work in probation services, prisons, police forces, courts and wider CJ agencies….

Are they free to do what is right?

Saturday’s prayer

Let us pray… God of majesty and power, who establishes the order of the universe, and upholds justice in your mighty right hand, sustain and inspire all who seek to bring justice in our communities. Where the truth is complex or hidden, help those making decisions that seek to reveal the truth, to do so wisely, with a vision of your righteousness, justice and mercy. Majestic, powerful God, set us free. Amen.

“Lord, give all of us the courage

we need to do what is right.

And to serve you, the Judge of all, with fidelity.”

A prayer for courts and judges

(photo courtesy of Dariusz Sankowski @ Unsplash)

Are we free to work well?

Are we free to work well? This question is posed on behalf of those working in prisons…

Prisons can be places of challenge and struggle, not only for those who are serving sentences, but also for those who are working in prisons, as chaplains, officers and support staff… Prisons can also be places of hope, connection and rehabilitation. Today we pray for those working in prison, continuing the theme of Freedom… what does freedom mean to you and are you free?

Are we free to work well?

Friday’s prayer for Prisons Week

Gracious God, who calls, equips and knows us, be with all who work in prison. May we not lose heart in a place where the reality of trauma and the risk of violence is a daily occurrence. Keep us from being imprisoned by our roles but instead set us free by your love, able to meet with others and understand their true needs in Christ. Tune us in to the surprising movement of your Spirit. Gracious God, set us free. Amen.

“We ask that you bless and protect all

who work in our prisons today.

Those with uniforms on, suits, overalls,

hard hats, and chef’s whites.

May we serve them well and rely on your strength to bring a sense of

your grace and peace wherever we go.”

A Prison Chaplain’s prayer

Prisons Week is a small charity which faithfully relies on sponsorship and donations to continue its work. Want to find out more? Able to make a donation to the vital work of Prisons Week?

(photo courtesy of Jonny Swales @ Unsplash)

Praying with communities

Thursday’s prayer for Prisons Week.


Are we free where we live?

Let us pray

Everlasting God, who leads his people in every age to places where we are called to be community together, make us mindful of those places in our own communities that are subject to fear, violence and rejection. Equip us by your Holy Spirit to share your love, peace and acceptance with all. May we learn to love each other as ourselves, living as neighbours were intended to and join our prayers together. Everlasting God, set us free. Amen.

“We ask that you knit our hearts, our vision & our actions together across our community

that we may all be totally free to live life abundantly in your love.”

Prayers for communities affected by Domestic Violence

(photo courtesy of Vincent Camacho at Unsplash)

Why was our freedom taken away with theirs?

Why was our freedom taken away with theirs? This is a heartfelt and compelling question for families who have a relative in prison.

A few years ago, I had the honour of taking part in A Hidden Sentence course facilitated by the prison charity PACT (The Prison Advice and Care Trust). It was a thought provoking programme to be part of. This course was developed and named from a phrase that PACT have so often heard from prisoners’ families as a description of how their lives can feel - a hidden sentence. It was challenging and inspiring to be part of this training; I am heartened to see that Pact are going from strength to strength in their work and are a key sponsor for Prisons Week.

Today’s prayer is praying with families…

Faithful God, who watches and waits with those who are betrayed and suffer; draw near to family members who are affected by crime and imprisonment. Give us your strength to persevere through pain and disappointment, soothe our anger and heal the wounds of separation and loss. Help us to know your grace to find forgiveness and hope for the journey ahead. Faithful God, set us free. Amen.

“To my Son I miss U and I pray to God you won’t come back here again.”

“God, I miss my Daddy. Try to help him. Please bring him home.”

Prayers from prisoners’ families for Prisons Week

(photo courtesy of Ben White @ Unsplash)

Sara Iles, FCG website support