Distinguished Professor James Ogloff announced as finalist for 2020 Australian Mental Health Prize

Distinguished Professor James Ogloff announced as finalist for 2020 Australian Mental Health Prize

Forensicare’s Executive Director of Research and Psychological Services, Distinguished Professor James Ogloff AM, has been selected as a finalist for Australian Mental Health Prize, supported by the University of New South Wales.

Professor Ogloff is among seven finalists selected for the 2020 Australian Mental Health prize, which recognises Australians who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of mental health, as well as treatment and prevention of mental illness.

“It is an honour to have been nominated, and an even bigger honour to be shortlisted for the Australian Mental Health Prize,” Professor Ogloff said.

“This nomination recognises the critical work we do. It is an important opportunity to shed light onto the plight of people living with a mental illness who have come into contact with the criminal justice system, particularly those in prison.”

“Every day, hundreds of people enter our prisons, and as many as four in ten have serious mental health concerns. Providing vital mental health care to prisoners—and people in forensic mental health settings—is a public health opportunity to address individual needs, and help improve community safety over the long-term.”

Professor Ogloff’s vital work

For more than 35 years, Professor Ogloff has played an integral role in identifying, advocating for and improving the care of people with a mental illness in the criminal justice system.

As an expert in law and forensic mental health–a traditionally under-recognised area of mental health–Professor Ogloff has worked tirelessly on a national and international level to first, identify the existence and extent of mental health requirements in prisons and forensic settings, and second, to address how those needs can be met.

He has dedicated his career to making a genuine difference in the lives of people living with a mental illness, including people in prisons, as well as forensic settings like Thomas Embling Hospital.  This work not only helps an individual with a second chance at life—it also enhances community safety.

Why forensic mental health is so important

“Professor Ogloff’s work is vital,” said Forensicare CEO Margaret Grigg.

“People who experience mental ill health in prisons and forensic settings are some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our community—people who not only experience significant mental health issues, but also experience the dual stigma of offending behaviour and mental illness.”

“Professor Ogloff’s work has demonstrated the clear effectiveness of investing in treatment and rehabilitation, and is making a real difference to the lives of many Australians with mental health issues who are in contact with the justice system.”

As a high-need group, whose treatment can have phenomenal impacts not only on an individual’s mental health and safety, but also the safety of the community, Professor Ogloff’s work is crucial. Spanning from clinical work, research, developing tools and models of care, identifying risk factors and how to manage them, as well as service development and reviews of forensic mental health and criminal justice service systems, Professor Ogloff’s work has not only changed the way we view mental health in offender settings: it’s revolutionised the way care is received.

And as a result of Professor Ogloff’s work, mental health treatment in Victorian prisons has been vastly improved, now with dedicated mental health units and visiting mental health staff across many of the state’s prisons.

Combined with his role as Director of the Centre for Behavioural Science, a joint partnership between Forensicare and Swinburne University of Technology, Professor Ogloff also helps to foster the next generation of forensic mental health experts.

The Australian Mental Health Prize 2020

Now in its fifth year, the Australian Mental Health Prize winner will be announced by Governor-General David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) at the UNSW Sydney on 5 November 2020.

Congratulations, Professor Ogloff!

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