School Psychologists Needed to Serve as American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health (DMH) Professionals
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has worked with the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) and the American Red Cross to allow eligibility of state-licensed or state-certified school psychologists and school counselors as Disaster Mental Health (DMH) professionals in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters.
Following information is for NASP members interested in becoming DMH volunteers. Please note that volunteers must sign up through their local Red Cross chapter and will likely be required to complete Red Cross-specific training in psychological first aid and disaster mental health regardless of their professional crisis response training.
Download a brochure here.
Volunteering in Your Local Community
To find the Red Cross chapter closest to you, please go to the Chapter Locater website at www.redcross.org. Local volunteers may be called upon to provide mental health support to volunteers going on national disaster assignments or to Red Cross chapter workers and volunteers who may be experiencing increased stress due to the pressures of coordinating the response to national disaster relief operations while still responding to the ongoing needs of their local community. Please be aware that mental health volunteers may be expected to complete Red Cross-specific training in psychological first aid and disaster mental health to prepare them for their volunteer roles and to ensure the safety and welfare of Red Cross clients and volunteers as well as those from partnering agencies.
Volunteering Outside Your Local Community
If you are interested and available for a national deployment for 10 days to 3 weeks, please contact your local Red Cross chapter. To find the Red Cross chapter closest to you, please go to the Chapter Locater website at www.redcross.org. Please be aware that prior to a national deployment, mental health volunteers must be registered as Red Cross volunteers and will be required to complete Red Cross-specific mental health training in psychological first aid and disaster mental health to prepare them for their volunteer roles and to ensure the safety and welfare of Red Cross clients and volunteers as well as those from partnering agencies. Be prepared for there to be a waiting period before Red Cross training is available and before you can deploy out of state. Any help you can provide to your local community and Red Cross chapter during this waiting period will be of great help. (In special circumstances, you may be notified of alternative training arrangements).
Basic Information About How to Become a DMH Volunteer
http://www.redcrossnca.org/Volunteer/how_to_volunteer.php3 includes information on the new volunteer orientation. Once that is completed, you will have the option to indicate interest in Disaster Services, complete a background check, and sign up for the basic DAT responder courses. To find out when those courses are offered, they can a) go to this web page http://www.redcrossnca.org/Online/disaster_registration.php or b) sign up for the courses being offered at our Mini Training Institute on September 27-28. Additional documents regarding courses required to become Red Cross DMHS are available here.
If you have additional questions or need more information, please contact your local Red Cross chapter directly.
*DMH Eligibility Criteria
- Independently-licensed, master's level (or higher) mental health professionals
- State-licensed or state-certified school counselors and school psychologists
- Licensed psychiatric RNs or RNs with at least two years experience working with direct client service in a behavioral health setting