Wager, Nadia and Pike, Graham (2017). Prevention. In: Vossler, Andreas; Havard, Catriona; Pike, Graham; Barker, Meg-John and Raabe, Bianca eds. Mad or Bad? A Critical Approach to Counselling and Forensic Psychology. London: Sage, pp. 297–310.




This chapter focuses on the prevention of mental health issues and offending behaviours, and discusses interventions designed to support people deemed to be at risk of developing either. Following an overview of the different levels that prevention measures can take, based on the stage that they are employed and who the target population is, we go on to explore the need to conceptualise mental health not just in terms of the avoidance of negative outcomes, but through the need to promote positive mental health. The discussion of preventing mental health issues covers preventative psychiatry and the use of the attachment behavioural system to promote strategies for building resilience in children. Offending behaviour is discussed in relation to the criminalisation of adolescents through the use of policies that target ‘status-offences’, and models of offending across the lifespan. The chapter then takes a critical look at approaches to prevention that are based on identifying risk factors, and concludes by examining prevention programmes (such as infant-parent psychotherapy) designed to promote positive mental health and prevent offending behaviour.

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