The CT Vulnerability Support Hubs (VSHs) are partnership services between NHS Forensic mental health teams and Policing, commissioned by CTPHQ in 2016. The aim of the VSHs is to improve the health and criminal justice outcomes for individuals referred into PREVENT and, by doing so, help mitigate the risk of terrorism to communities. The hubs work on the NHS principle that ‘there is no wrong door’; individuals with poor mental health that are identified via a Prevent referral (i.e. they have displayed behaviour that gives rise to a concern they are vulnerable to radicalisation) should have the same rights and opportunities to access help and support as individuals that are identified by G.Ps, schools or criminal justice services.
Currently, the services are being provided by Mental Health Trusts in Manchester, West Midlands and London, which geographically cover the whole of England and Wales. The Vulnerability Support Hubs are informed by policy and best practice in other areas of Mental Health, Urgent and Crisis Care and Offender Mental Health Services and adhere to all NHS policies and guidelines, including Information Governance Legislation which dictates how information must be stored and shared.
In the VSH’s mental health professionals (mental health nurses, clinical and forensic psychologists and forensic psychiatrists) work in partnership with Police Officers and use a formulation based approach to identify different factors that may be causing poor mental health and increasing vulnerability to being drawn towards extremism. They then work with police, mental health services and other agencies to support individuals referred to Prevent with poor mental health by:
- Ensuring they have access to a range of appropriate services and treatments such as support for mental health, housing, substance misuse or offending behaviours
- Building up their protective factors such as social support or engagement in work or education
- Ensuring there is appropriate mental health safeguarding in place.
- Doing this at the earliest opportunity.
A 2017 report into the functioning of the Vulnerability Support Hubs was commissioned and is accessible here. Since the inception of the hubs a number of improvements have been made and further information into the functioning of hubs will be published in due course.
The goal of the hubs remains to support the best possible outcomes for individuals with mental ill health and complex needs when accessing public support services.