Disaster Behavioral Health Response Teams
All people involved in a disaster are affected in some way, from emergency response workers to disaster survivors, (including family members and friends), and the public at large. Persons affected by disaster events may experience varying levels of stress and anxiety. They may also display other physical and psychological symptoms that could adversely affect their ability to respond and function. Outreach, early psychological first aid, and referrals can assist disaster survivors meet new challenges, and offers support in their recovery process to return them to pre-disaster performance and functioning levels.
The Department of Health, in conjunction with the Florida Crisis Consortium, has formed Regional Disaster Behavioral Health Response Teams to work with communities (at the request of local jurisdictions) to assess and manage behavioral health needs that occur as a result of a disaster.
Disaster Behavioral Health response Teams work with communities and emergency responders to assist with the mitigation of emotional, psychological, and physical effects of a disaster, natural or man-made. Disaster behavioral health responders apply the concepts of psychological first aid to help those affected overcome the initial impact of shock, denial, and depression when confronting disasters.
For more information on Disaster Behavioral Health Response Teams, see the Florida Disaster Behavioral Health Response Plan or download the Florida Crisis Consortium & the Florida Disaster Behavioral Health Response Plan Overview.
The following resources support Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team activities. If you have feedback or input on how to improve this Webpage or would like to share/submit additional resources, send an email to the below address:
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Florida Crisis Consortium Helpful Topics
Disaster Behavioral Health Needs of Persons with Mental Health and Substance Abuse Considerations - Presentation slides from the June 20, 2012, Department of Health Webinar. The program was designed to encourage planners and emergency response personnel to engage advocated and individuals with mental health disorders in the planning process and identify planning considerations involving persons with mental health disorders in their community.
Psychological First Aid Training - An online interactive course from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. The course is described as being for "individuals new to disaster response who want to learn the core goals of psychological first aid, as well as for seasoned practitioners who want a review."
SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series Resource Collection - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) collection of resources includes tools for responders, a Disaster Response Template Toolkit, and much more.