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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Ground breaking pilot project helping vulnerable people to access support

Published: 14/10/2016

A pilot scheme to create mental health hubs in counter terrorism units is helping vulnerable individuals gain access to vital services and reducing risk to the public.

Medical practitioners have been recruited to work alongside Prevent officers as part of a year-long trial to offer more support for those thought to be at risk of being radicalised.
The new teams of psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health nurses are assessing individuals who have been referred through the Prevent programme, and assisting those in need to access mental health services.
The initiative – which has now reached the half-way stage - was launched following a needs assessment carried out last year by clinical staff at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. They looked at a sample of individuals referred for being at risk of radicalisation, and found up to half the cases exhibited a broad range of mental health and psychological difficulties. This applied across different ideologies, including Islamist and far right extremism. 

The hubs also incorporate best practice from other established mental health services, such as Street Triage, Liaison and Diversion Services and FTAC (the Fixated Threat assessment Centre) where NHS and Police work in close partnership to identify and support vulnerable individuals with mental health difficulties.

The pilot is split across three areas in the West Midlands, North West and London and will conclude in March 2017.  The work will then be independently evaluated.
Early intervention by the teams has already assisted many individuals gain vital support with their mental health and psychological needs and directed them to a range of services.
National Police Chiefs Council lead for Prevent, Chief Constable Simon Cole, says: "The initial research gave us a valuable insight into the vulnerabilities some people at risk of radicalisation were experiencing.  
“Where mental health support was required it gave us a clearer idea of how we could ensure people got the help they needed.
“Having medical experts work with us to research and evaluate this area is going to yield an enormous amount of learning.”
 “Since launching the pilots around 200 people who were referred to Prevent have been helped by the clinicians to get the support they need.  We believe this work will improve health outcomes for the individuals and reduce risk to the public.”
Hilary Garrett, NHS England's Director of Nursing, said: "We are very supportive of joint working in this area and hope these pilots will provide valuable learning on how to help vulnerable people get the health support they need."

Funding for the pilots and the evaluation is provided by national counter terrorism police, the NHS and the Home Office.