Faith Ombese

Historically, prevention and countering violent extremism structures came into fruition as a result of executive orders in most countries faced with violent extremism and terrorism.

Over time, the relevant security agencies effected this using the hard power approach. This approach does not address the emotional and mental status of the affected populations. Hence, the need to incorporate the soft power approach.

Mental health is more often than not neglected in most countries, yet one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.

Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide. Treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. Stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

In addressing, what global mental health should do about violent extremism, (Weine and Kansal, 2019) highlight that the spectrum of prevention and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) activities increasingly follow the public health model of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention (Bhui et al., 2012; Weine et al., 2016).

Primary prevention targets the whole community through activities that aim to shift cultural norms, enhance social cohesion, or improve access to services.

Secondary prevention focuses on identifying and providing early intervention services for those presenting at a higher risk to act violently.

Tertiary prevention activities focus on rehabilitation and reintegration of those who have already committed an act of violence or some crime related to terrorism (Dean & Kessels, 2018).

P/CVE initiatives should, therefore, seek to integrate public health and mental health programs with existing strategies to cover issues arising from violent extremism and terrorism. Through this, victims of violent extremism can heal from traumatic experiences and or losses of their children, spouses and relatives.

Moreover, the society can handle reintegration of returnees into the community without stigmatization and promote cohesion based on enlightenment and information acquired.

Faith Ombese is an accomplished and vastly experienced professional, competent in research, management of financial processes, and accounting operations. 

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