Become a Disaster Response Crisis Counselor (DRCC) Disaster & Terrorism Branch (NJ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services): A program of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services).
About the Disaster and Terrorism Branch:
The Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHAS) within the New Jersey Department of Human Services (NJDHS) houses a highly specialized behavioral health Disaster and Terrorism Branch (DTB). DTB is responsible for administering as well as directly providing, emergency response behavioral health program to assist the citizens of New Jersey. The Branch has the capacity to provide ongoing and on demand training for emergency responders from many backgrounds including but not limited to behavioral health, human services, first responders, health care, public health, emergency management and faith based organizations to further increase the state’s capacity to address the psychosocial needs of communities affected by disasters and overwhelming events.
Responses have included declared disasters:
*Anthrax Postal System Attacks
*Hurricane Ivan along the Delaware River
*Tropical Storm Irene
*Super Storm Sandy
Also non-declared disasters:
*Seton Hall Dormitory Fire
*Edison Gas Line Explosion
What is a Disaster Response Crisis Counselor?
New Jersey is one the first states to certify its behavioral responders in preparation for response to disasters and traumatic events. The development of a cadre of paraprofessionals and professionals enhances the capability of activating a timely and effective behavioral health response. A Disaster Response Crisis Counselor (DRCC) is a volunteer who becomes part of an Emergency Response Network and responds to the needs of communities in the event that a disaster strikes.
The DRCC’s are trained in disaster response, disaster behavioral health and crisis counseling, among other topics and they collaborate with the various response partners who participate in the statewide emergency response network. The DRCC does not need to have a clinical background as the crisis counseling program does not provide traditional mental health services.
To become a Disaster Response Crisis Counselor:
The credentialing process consists of a series of steps including the application, the submission of references and possible interviews. Participants are also required to attend designated training and to undergo fingerprinting and background checks. You must complete the five required trainings listed below to apply to become a DRCC.
- Introduction to Disaster Behavioral Health and Crisis Counseling.
- Ethical Issues in Crisis Response
- National Incident Management System (NIMS 700/Incident Command System 100; Note: NIMS and ICS training can be taken online).
- 4. Cultural Diversity in the Provision of Disaster Mental Health Services
- Psychological First Aid
For more information or to apply go to:
You can also contact your County Mental Health Administrator for more information.
DTB Partners: NJ has developed critical partnerships and working relationships between:
*NJ State Police: Office of Emergency Management
*Department of Health
*Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness
*NJ Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
*American Red Cross
*County Mental Health Administrators
*County Office of Emergency Management
Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the NJ Jersey Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services pamphlet and I give them full credit for the information. Please call or email the above numbers for more information.