Parents For Peace Helpline

Helpline for families grappling with extremism

In addition to prevention and recovery programs, P4P intervenes in the radicalization process through helpline interventions. P4P uses their confidential helpline, cross-sector partnerships and public awareness campaigns to promote and cultivate sustainable ways to counter extremism.

P4P Helpline:

First launched in 2017, the helpline has processed hundreds of cases from across the country, as well as several international calls, stemming from a wide range of extremist ideologies. Drawing on lessons learned from suicide hotlines and other mental health helplines, P4P has built a formal protocol for evaluating cases, devising specific interventions, monitoring progress, and coaching families to healthy outcomes. Cases are ultimately resolved based on criteria in P4P’s helpline manual, ideally when it appears the at-risk individual is on a healthy path to recovery.

P4P believes that there are complex factors that lead individuals into radicalization. A correlating factor to radicalization that P4P aims to address, is the lack of mental wellness in individuals that leave them vulnerable to violent extremist ideologies. Our intervention effort is about de-escalating the individual from the ‘shortcut’ path back to a place where the core issues driving the initial turn to extremism can be addressed. When properly understood, the same vulnerabilities that were exploited by extremist groomers can instead become openings for healthy engagement. Our strategic approach involves guiding families and other potential mentors to find these openings and begin to redirect the individual, replacing the unhealthy influence of the traffickers/groomers.
  • The in-take process evaluates whether a caller is presenting an actual case of extremism (versus a false alarm); how deeply the at-risk individual appears to have been radicalized; and whether P4P has the capacity to assist an intervention (versus law enforcement).
  • After P4P agrees to take on a case, a subsequent discussion with the family helps identify key factors that make the at-risk individual vulnerable to extremist ‘grooming’ as well as other dynamics contributing to vulnerability. 
  • Techniques are then applied to address underlying identity crises in healthy ways, with formal evaluation mechanisms measuring progress towards de-radicalization.
  • The weekly or biweekly intervention ends when the person-at-risk shows signs of healthy recovery. 

Team:

  • Myrieme Churchill is the Executive Director of Parents For Peace, who conducts most of our interventions.
  • Depending on the caller’s unique concerns, experts may be brought in to the conversation to assist with the intervention. Individuals cal include: Chris Buckley, Mubin Shaikh, and Arno Michaelis. To read their bios, visit ‘Our Team’ under the About tab.

P4P’s helpline can be reached toll-free at 1-844-49-PEACE. Due to limited resources, the helpline primarily operates on weekdays from 9am EST till 5pm EST.