Review Article

Women Behind Bars: A Scoping Review of Mental Health Needs in Prison


Background: Women prisoners are a population that is vulnerable to mental health problems. Women prisoners have a higher risk of mental health problems than women in the general population. So far, there have been very few studies with specific on women prisoner populations discussing mental health needs in prisons. The high prevalence of mental health problems in women prisoners is inseparable from meeting the mental health needs of women prisoners in prison. This review aimed to identify the mental health needs of women prisoners.

Methods: A scoping review was used, a systematic search of the articles on Oxford Academic Journals, Emerald Insight, Science Direct, PubMed, and Google Scholar using the keywords “Mental Health” OR “Health” AND “Needs” OR “Needs Assessment” OR “Addressing Needs” AND “Female” OR “Woman” OR “Women” AND “Inmates” OR “Prisoners” OR “Offenders” OR “Convicts”.

Results: A total of 10 out of 254 selected, were considered eligible for inclusion and the results showed that the six major themes of mental health needs of women prisoners were treatment of substance, drug, and alcohol abuse, support system, empathy, training, mental illness treatment and access to health services, and health intervention: therapy and counselling.

Conclusion: It is recommended for further research to focus more on the problem of access to gender-based mental health services in prisons.

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IssueVol 52 No 2 (2023) QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
Mental health Women Prisoners Scoping review

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How to Cite
Hidayati N, Suryani S, Rahayuwati L, Widianti E. Women Behind Bars: A Scoping Review of Mental Health Needs in Prison. Iran J Public Health. 2023;52(2):243-253.