How Hope 2 Hire supports mental wellness in prison

The effect incarceration has on a person’s mental well-being varies from person to person. Life circumstances prior to incarceration, physical health, contact with loved ones and access to human interaction can all have an impact on how someone fares mentally while in prison. 

Hope 2 Hire provides technical job-training opportunities to currently incarcerated people. We support our students through courses in high-demand trades so they leave prison with marketable job skills. But we know that technical training is only one piece of the puzzle. Holistic rehabilitation also requires attention to mental wellness.  

Through HopeWorks, one of our organizational partners, we offer individual and group counseling to all of our students. These counseling opportunities come through HopeWorks’ Personal and Career Development course, which is a prerequisite course for Hope 2 Hire technical job training. 

In these counseling sessions, licensed counselors help our students navigate the mental burdens they carry – from addiction recovery to strained family connections. Each person has a unique set of stressors, and our counselors forge meaningful, professional relationships and present an outlet for our students to talk about the situations that adversely affect their mental health. 

Group counseling sessions provide peace of mind, knowing that their problems are not entirely different from anyone else’s. They create a sense of community and belonging, and make connections between shared experiences. Students can talk together with guidance from a mental health professional, working through difficult topics as a team. This can also create accountability for our students – if a person’s peers and friends know their struggles, then they can provide encouragement and help keep that person from stumbling. 

Individual counseling sessions are more intimate and allow our students to explore topics that are uncomfortable or challenging to discuss in a group setting. These individual sessions can be an outlet for our students and create a safe space for them to open up and start the healing process.

Our students are also partnered with a mentor. Many of our student-mentor relationships are a wonderful human connection for both the mentor and mentee. Our mentors provide a listening ear and pray diligently for their mentee. While our mentors are not counselors, they do provide an additional relationship to our students, which can lift spirits and improve outlook. 

At Hope 2 Hire, our ultimate goal is to provide holistic resources to help keep as many of our students from returning to prison as possible. This work requires a multi-pronged approach, and supporting mental wellness is just one of those prongs. We hope you’ll navigate our website and learn more about what we do through Hope 2 Hire.

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