chapter  Five
16 Pages

Thinking about antisocial behaviour and mental health in Youth Offending Services

ByWilliam Crouch

The young people worked with by youth offending services are without doubt a group that need the help of specialist mental health workers. Psychoanalytic theory may be helpful in conceptualizing the organizational difficulties in youth offending teams (YOT) work: in particular, ideas about psychic defences that are both ubiquitous and necessary to the welfare of the conscious mind. This chapter utilizes case illustrations to show the difficulties faced in thinking about the relationships of staff to young people, as well as the young people's mental health and emotional needs. It then makes some suggestions as to how the organization can be supported in this task. C. Winnicott, in his seminal paper "The antisocial tendency" highlights the dynamic between the antisocial act and the environment. The act committed by the young person then makes society, through agencies such as the police or Youth Offending Services, attend to the young person's needs.