Skip to main content
Migration and Home Affairs
News announcement13 September 2023Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs

Call for participants: RAN Mental Health meeting - Psychotic disorders and the implications for P/CVE, 23-24 October 2023

The meeting will take place online via WebEx on 23 and 24 October 2023 (9.30-12.30) 


We are currently looking for suitable participants for the online RAN Mental Health Working Group meeting on ‘Psychotic disorders and the implications for PCVE. This meeting will look at the role of psychosis in the context of terrorist attacks and the challenges that come forth out of this complexity.


Individual processes of radicalisation are driven by a complex interplay of different ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, including mental health issues or illness. In various cases of lone actor attacks, it appears that mental illness, specifically psychosis, played a role. This seems to be in line with the conclusion of earlier research that psychotic disorders (in particular delusional disorders) are relatively more common in violent lone actors than in the general population (*). Therefore, the presence of a psychotic disorder may constitute a significant risk factor in the lone actor's path to terrorism.

The above may not be surprising since extremism is an often discussed and salient topic in the media, and people are easily exposed to quite distressing online accounts. This exposure may affect a psychotic individual’s chaotic thinking, levels of anxiety, and grasp of reality.  Hence, the shared extreme ideas may provide this person with much-needed structure and give meaning to their derailed psyche (*). However, it is important to note that these findings do not imply a causal relationship between psychosis and radicalisation. 

Therefore, it is important to examine specific aspects and symptoms of psychotic disorders and identify when and how they may link to extremist actions and the process of radicalisation, rather than ideation. The RAN Handbook Extremism, Radicalisation & Mental Health describes how characteristics of schizophrenia and psychosis might relate to terrorist offending or extremist behaviours. In the prevention and countering of radicalisation (P/CVE), we should consider the following questions:

  • Identifying the role psychotic disorders play in the process of radicalisation. Do some characteristics of these disorders serve as a protective factor? Do they contribute to vulnerabilities to violent extremism, or do they have no relevance at all?
  • Is the risk of violence related to radicalisation? Is it merely a manifestation of the psychotic disorder or a combination of both?
  • How do you take into account the role of a psychotic disorder during treatment and in P/CVE? How will you provide (mental health) support while taking the risks into consideration?
  • The presence of psychotic disorders could make it difficult to work together with communal, social or family support. What are the main challenges? How do you build bridges in a multi-agency setting when discussing a specific psychotic disorder?

The aim of this meeting is to gain better insight into the complexity of the different features of psychotic disorders, and the way they may create vulnerability to extremist violence. During the meeting we will discuss challenges that arise from this and the practical implications for P/CVE and treatment. Moreover, building on the RAN Handbook Extremism, Radicalisation & Mental Health and submitted cases, we will try to formulate practical guidelines for practitioners. The specific type of psychotic disorder that will be discussed depends on the cases practitioners bring to the meeting.

Call for participants

We are currently looking for mental health practitioners with experience in working with and knowledge on people at risk of radicalisation/violent extremism with (diagnosed) schizophrenia or a psychotic disorder in a P/CVE setting. In order to find the best suited participants, we would like you to fill out this survey before 27 September.

We will invite participants based on this information. Please keep in mind that we can only host a limited number of people in the meeting in order to foster exchanges, so participation is not guaranteed. We will contact you shortly after the deadline.  

If you know other suitable participants for whom this meeting may be interesting, we encourage you to forward the call. 

Do you have any further questions? Please do not hesitate to contact Sophie Kuijper or Feline Deniz.

Please note this is a virtual meeting with limited spots available. By applying for participation, you confirm your availability and willingness to actively participate in the meeting.


(*) N. Schulten, B. Doosje, R. Spaaij & J.H. Kamphuis: Radicalisation, Terrorism & Psychopathology: state of affairs, gaps and priorities for future research (2019), commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre/Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security.




Publication date
13 September 2023
Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs