The COVID-19 pandemic has had a galvanising and accelerating effect on factors that contribute to the P/CVE challenge. The pandemic has galvanised the radicalising efforts of terrorist and extremist groups and focused their efforts on how to recruit individuals to their cause. Meanwhile, the pandemic has also accelerated the risks and vulnerabilities which make these individuals more susceptible to radicalising influences.
The mental health of individuals is a significant contributing factor to the P/CVE challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the mental health challenge harder. The pandemic, and the lockdown measures put in place to deal with it, has put a significant strain on people’s mental health, with many feeling increased levels of stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness. More people are facing mental health issues than ever before.
Before the pandemic the topic of mental health in P/CVE had been developing. However, thanks in part to an increasing recognition and acceptance of mental health issues in the public consciousness, there is a nascent, increasing, and deepening understanding of mental health vulnerabilities and how terrorists and extremists exploit them. As we come out of the pandemic, we must accelerate our understanding, and share it with all practitioners working in P/CVE, and develop responses.
In this edition of Spotlight, RAN practitioners, including the Working Group leaders of the RAN Mental Health Working Group, share their insights on the mental health challenge in P/CVE.
These will include the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenge of mental health vulnerabilities in prisons, an innovative multi-sector approach being carried out in Denmark, as well as an insight into more nuanced forms of mental health P/CVE work involving ADHD and Autism clients. There will also be a practical look at how practitioners can handle sensitive conversations working in this difficult space.