Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 145–152 | Cite as

Suicide Risk and Mental Health Co-morbidities in a Probationer Population

  • Roberto CardarelliEmail author
  • Elizabeth Balyakina
  • Kendra Malone
  • Kimberly G. Fulda
  • Michael Ellison
  • Ron Sivernell
  • Tanjina Shabu
Original Paper


Mental health problems are disproportionately represented in the community corrections system with limited information on the epidemiology of mental health and correlated factors such as suicide among probationers. This study recruited 2,077 probationers who completed screeners for mental health and substance disorders and suicide risk. Results found 13 % of probationers were at high risk of suicide. Those who screened positive for a mental health condition were between 2 and 8 times more likely to screen positive for suicide risk. Allocation of additional resources to mental health in the criminal justice system and to effectively coordinate existing mental health services is needed.


Mental illness Suicide Probationers Substance abuse 



The study described was supported by Grant Number 2009040047 from the Meadows Foundation. The authors are grateful for the assistance of Kristen Hahn, William Effinger, the Tarrant County CSCD’s Treatment Alternative to Incarceration Program personnel, and the Primary Care Research Center staff of the University of North Texas Health Science Center in this project.

Conflict of interest

All authors listed declare no conflicts of interest. All authors declare that the manuscript is not being reviewed elsewhere and they do not intend to submit to any other journal until the review process is complete.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Cardarelli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elizabeth Balyakina
    • 2
  • Kendra Malone
    • 2
  • Kimberly G. Fulda
    • 3
  • Michael Ellison
    • 4
  • Ron Sivernell
    • 5
  • Tanjina Shabu
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Community Medicine, Department of Family and Community MedicineUniversity of Kentucky College of MedicineLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Primary Care Research Center, Texas Prevention InstituteUniversity of North Texas Health Science CenterFort WorthUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family Medicine, Primary Care Research Center, Texas Prevention InstituteUniversity of North Texas Health Science CenterFort WorthUSA
  4. 4.Department of Graduate Counseling ProgramsTexas Wesleyan UniversityFort WorthUSA
  5. 5.Tarrant County Community Supervision and Corrections DepartmentFort WorthUSA

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