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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Disaster Behavioral Health Volunteer Training

Disaster Behavioral Health Volunteer Training


May 24, 2011


Disaster Behavioral Health – A Critical Response

A training curriculum for behavioral health, spiritual care, and substance abuse professionals as well as disaster responders and natural community helpers. Note: To be eligible for the Maine Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team, participants must attend both days.

Program Overview

The training programs will be two days in length and will be held from 8:30 – 5 pm each day. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both days. Note: To be eligible for the Maine Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team participants must attend both days.

Program Purpose

The purpose of these trainings is two fold:

  1. To develop a better informed disaster response com­munity in Maine around the issue of behavioral health and its critical role in disaster response.

  2. To develop a volunteer team of disaster behavioral health responders throughout Maine who are available to provide mental health and substance abuse support in the event of a disaster or local emergency.

Behavioral Health Response Teams

Teams will be managed at the state level by the Program Director of Disaster Behavioral Health Services and managed locally by clinical team leaders. These teams will be deployed through the state emergency management system. Teams will be trained to respond to the emotional needs of disaster victims, responders, or community members in local, state, or nationally declared disasters or traumatic incidents requiring a behavioral health response.

Intended Audience

Mental health and substance abuse providers, psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, social workers, spiritual care providers, first responders, first receivers and other individuals who wish to learn more about the behavioral health response to disasters and are interested in exploring the idea of joining the Maine Disaster Behavioral Health Volunteer Response Team.

About This Training

Day One: Participants will learn about the behavioral health impact of disasters on individuals and communities. They will also learn about normal and adverse stress reactions and be given information about how the state and national disaster preparedness and response systems work.

Day Two: Participants will learn disaster behavioral health interventions used to identify and address these reactions (such as psychological first aid). They will go through an exercise to learn how to set up a family assistance center and respond to the needs of the victims and families. Finally, they will have the opportunity to learn about and join the formal state team in Maine tasked with responding to the behavioral health needs of the community after a disaster.

June 23 & 24, 2011 - Atlantic Oceanside, Bar Harbor

September 23 & 24, 2011 - Hilton Garden Inn, Auburn

October 6 & 7, 2011 – Spruce Point Inn, Boothbay Harbor

November 3 & 4, 2011 – UMaine Hutchinson Center, Belfast

More Information Below and Registration Materials Attached or available by emailing Tammy McLaughlin at



Tammy McLaughlin


Last update: 07/20/10