Dr. Holifield is the Threat Management Coordinator for a new community-based threat assessment pilot project. This 4-year grant project focuses on integrating threat assessment, threat management, and threat monitoring among community institutions (education, law enforcement, and behavioral health). The final goal will be to examine community-based monitoring, provided ongoing training to community partners, and develop intervention approaches for individuals who have made threatening gestures. The program applied for funding via the Innovation component of the Mental Health Services Act of California (Proposition 63).
Community Partners work with a site-based threat assessment protocol and explore options for support within their system. Members from education, law enforcement, and mental health communities associated with the Level 1 site are provided training that equips them with the necessary skills to conduct threat assessments at their site. Professionals at the site have the greatest knowledge of their students and the makeup of their site and are provided with protocols and systems specifically molded to their site.
Community Partners provide staff to be trained in more advanced applications of threat assessment and threat management. They receive referrals to assist Level 1 Teams on more complex issues. These Community Partners receive advanced training that allows them to address more serious cases that the Level 1 Team may not be fully equipped to engage with. They are Level 1 certified and meet frequently, honing their skills with case studies even when there are no cases present.
The first step in building a community-wide and site-based threat assessment network is providing training to the individuals who are in the most important position in the threat assessment network: school sites. B-HARP strives to equip each school site with the training and knowledge to implement threat assessment protocols on their own campus independently.
In fulfilling this goal, training participants will increase and maintain ongoing threat assessment knowledge and skills from a Best Practice Threat Assessment Model. Education engagement practices in order to decrease criminalization and stigmatization of youth following a threat will be provided and implemented in campuses and the community at large.
The needs for a Community-Based Threat Assessment are three-fold:
1. Threats may span more than a singular school site.
2. Level 1 school site teams may need support on more complex threat assessment cases from a team with advanced training.
3. A highly interconnected and trained community will result in the most effective threat identification, assessment, and management network.
This goal aims to increase community collaboration and utilization of threat assessment skills and meets all three of the needs listed above. Under this goal, B-HARP created a Level 2 Team that assists and consults Level 1 Site Teams and can implement threat assessment practices on a community-wide scale. Participants in this training and members of the Level 2 Community Team will understand and apply threat assessment from a Best Practice Model and will work to expand and solidify the community threat assessment network.
At B-HARP, we recognize the important role that teachers and staff have in identifying threats, due to their high level of engagement with students and their commitment to school safety. To equip those working at educational institutions with the tools of threat assessment and management, we educate school teachers and staff on identifying and reporting behaviors of concern. We also provide information on reporting methods to ensure that teachers and staff know who to report behaviors of concern to, and what steps the Level 1 Team will take with the information. Participating teachers and staff will learn better methods to increase prevention and early detection of threats that are made.
Under this goal, the community capacity of mental health providers to treat and monitor persons who have made threats will increase. Mental Health Providers serve as a crucial component of the community threat assessment network, in the identification, prevention, and management stages of threat assessment. As B-HARP is a treatment-based model, therapists and counselors are in a unique position in the network as they can identify potential threats in sessions, and also serve as a primary source of treatment for those who have made threats.