New research from START explores how lessons learned in the fields of mental health and education can uniquely contribute to best practices for developing resilient communities and addressing violent extremism. The recently completed project yielded:
- A full report, “Lessons Learned from Mental Health and Education: Identifying Best Practices for Addressing Violent Extremism”
- A research brief summarizing the report’s research-based recommendations, “Best Practices for Developing Resilient Communities and Addressing Violent Extremism”
- As well as summaries tailored for specific audiences
Three key findings were:
- Communities need to have a say in how to prioritize and organize actions intended to make them strong;
- Strategies for addressing the threat of violent extremism need to be organized and led by community-based multidisciplinary teams who draw upon mental health, public health, religious, education, and law enforcement frameworks and remedies; and
- Efforts to address violent extremism should adopt a comprehensive approach to promoting community safety which includes ideologically inspired violent extremism as one of many forms of violence that afflict communities.
Led by Dr. Stevan Weine and Dr. Heidi Ellis, the multidisciplinary research team first conducted a review of education and mental health literature focusing on English-language literature post-1985. They identified key concepts and best practices that could potentially contribute to the development of healthy, resilient communities and counter targeted violence.
The results of the literature review were then presented and discussed at a two-day meeting, supported by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Office of University Programs and comprised of 25 experts from education, mental health, law enforcement, federal agencies and Muslim communities.
For more information on the project and links to the report, brief and summaries, visit https://www.start.umd.edu/research-projects/integrating-mental-health-and-education-fields-countering-violent-extremism.