A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

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START Hosts conference on mental health, education and countering violent extremism


START Hosts conference on mental health, education and countering violent extremism

May 27, 2015Beth Schwartz

Earlier this month, START hosted a conference titled “Integrating Mental Health and Education Fields into Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)”. The event was convened by Dr. Stevan Weine START researcher and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois, Chicago and Dr. Heidi Ellis, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, and made possible by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.

In attendance were 25 academics, homeland security experts, law enforcement officials, educators and mental health professionals representing 16 institutions including the Boston Children’s Hospital, the Dearborn Michigan Police Department, the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Civic Center, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Counseling and Intervention Center of the Boston public school system.

The purpose of the meeting was to identify best practices for CVE prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation programming based on existing knowledge and practices from mental health and education fields, as well as to identify strategies for dissemination of this information and training to potential CVE practitioners from mental health, education and law enforcement. Guests spent two days participating in panels, breakout sessions and group discussions about the current CVE context, CVE prevention services, mental health/education involvement and efforts to integrate metal health and education into CVE training in three pilot cities.

START executive director William Braniff was on-hand to moderate the panel discussions during the conference.

“Hosting workshops and training sessions is very important for a research network and transition-oriented enterprise like START,” Braniff said. “By facilitating multi-disciplinary events and convening experts for discussion and collaboration, we make the entire consortium stronger and more well-connected.”

Dr. Weine’s full report on mental health and education best practices for CVE will be released later this year.