- Publication date
- 15 February 2022
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
Supporting mental health practitioners with suitable training in the field of preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) is essential to effectively deal with the different challenges they face during their work and the additional difficulty that working in P/CVE brings.
The risk of exacerbating pre-existing stigma around mental health (and P/CVE) might have negative consequences. Therefore, professionalisation or specialisation in the field provides the possibility to overcome this gap in knowledge and skills.
This meeting of the RAN Mental Health (RAN HEALTH) Working Group on ‘Training for mental health practitioners in P/CVE’ took place in a digital setting on 4 and 5 November 2021.
Mental health practitioners discussed training content for mental health practitioners in P/CVE. The following key points were discussed:
- The link between mental health and violent extremism is a sensitive topic. Practitioners sometimes have to deal with the discomfort in society surrounding the topic. In some cases, this has resulted in media outrage or even threats to practitioners and researchers.
- The quality of the information shared can be lacking due to the absence of training in diagnosing certain disorders like high-functioning autism and/or lack in specifying the general diagnosis.
- A holistic approach needs to be stressed in trainings. Practitioners need to understand mental health clinically, forensically and in the counterterrorism field.
- Training in trust-building should focus on transparency and patience.
- The learning goals of the training and the practitioners’ needs shape the training methods.
- A follow-up session after each training is important to evaluate and to have intervision on the used methods.
This paper summarises the main conclusions following the discussion on training for mental health practitioners working in P/CVE. Consequently, this paper describes the reoccurring challenges practitioners face, the gaps in knowledge and the training content. This is followed by recommendations on the curricula of a training programme and the different methods with which training can be delivered. Follow-up and inspiring practices are also outlined.