This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. The news media focuses on tragic and violent events involving people with mental illnesses and, as a result, the public has an exaggerated view of the relationship between mental illness and violence, as well as their own personal risk of being harmed by someone who has a mental illness. But what is the reality for people with mental illnesses who become involved with the criminal justice system? If this is both a public health and public safety concern, what role do we, the general public, have in promoting mental health and preventing or reducing crime?

Crystal Dieleman is an occupational therapist and assistant professor at Dalhousie University. Her passion is mental health and criminal justice. She started her career as an occupational therapist in the psychiatric treatment centers of the Correctional Service of Canada, working with men who have mental illnesses as they prepared to re-enter the community. She holds a PhD in Rehabilitation Science and works to understand the different factors that contribute to the criminalization of people with mental health problems and how to prevent or reduce their involvement in the criminal justice system as they transition from prison or forensic hospital back to community life.

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