The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has developed an organized team of mental health and other helping professionals who respond to the behavioral health needs of New Hampshire residents following disasters (e.g., bioterrorism, manmade or natural disasters). Five regional disaster behavioral health response teams (DBHRT) can be deployed immediately anywhere in the state. These teams would respond to disasters or critical incidents when local behavioral health resources have been depleted or are overwhelmed. The goal of the disaster behavioral health response teams is to provide an organized response to individual victims, family members, survivors, or the community affected by critical incidents or disasters.
Teams include individuals with experience in human services, psychology, mental health, substance abuse, social work, psychiatry, education or spirituality. Over 1000 Behavioral Health Response Team members have completed specialized training. Team members operate under the supervision of DHHS’s Disaster Behavioral Health Coordinator, receive ongoing training and participate in community/statewide drills and exercises.
The DBHRTs provide interventions in three distinct phases that may be delivered at a disaster site, in an affected community, or statewide. The phases and interventions include:
Transition to Recovery
Preparedness and Mitigation