Disaster Behavioral Health Preparedness and Response---Building a Seat at the Table
Length: 110 minutes
Session offered by Division 18.
Preparing for and responding to disasters requires more than determining how best to rebuild roads and houses. No matter whether it is human caused, natural or a technological disaster, states and territories are recognizing the importance of addressing behavioral health issues experienced after a disaster. Building capacity within states and territories to ensure that disaster behavioral health (DBH) professionals have the tools needed to aid and assist those in need following a disaster is crucial for preparedness. In addition, having plans for addressing problems such as how people on psychotropic medication will have access to their medication and/or providing interventions to those most impacted after a disaster are all factors that need to be determined in advance. This often requires coordination of many state-level agencies and local providers. As witnessed during recent disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, hurricane Katrina, and the tsunami in American Samoa, states and territories are relying on the Federal government for assistance to address behavioral health needs.
Symposium panelists will discuss how the Federal government has played an important leadership role in DBH preparedness and response by funding the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Disaster Technical Assistance Center (SAMHSA DTAC) which offers training and technical assistance to the United States, its Territories, and Tribal communities to address DBH preparedness. In addition, funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) enable SAMHSA DTAC to provide assistance to state leadership following presidentially declared disasters. The increased visibility and need for disaster behavioral health preparedness and response will also be discussed, as well as the importance of ensuring that mental health professionals are invited to the table to discuss planning and response needs. The SAMHSA DTAC national needs assessment—which is estimated to launch by summer of 2011—will be discussed in terms of its relevance, development, and purpose.
Learning Objective 1
Define Disaster Behavioral Health and describe disaster behavioral health activities of the SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center.
Learning Objective 2
Explain the development of and current activities in a state-wide disaster behavioral health system using work completed in Colorado as an example.
Learning Objective 3
Describe the goals and development of a national disaster behavioral health needs assessment survey that includes state and territory disaster behavioral health coordinators, local providers and representatives from federally-recognized tribes.
Presenters: Nikki Bellamy, PhD; Curt Drennen, PhD; Amy Falcone, MA; Amy R. Mack, PsyD (Chair)