Disaster Mental Health Response Team
The Monroe County Office of Mental Health (MCOMH) works collaboratively with the Monroe County Public Health Department, Office of Public Health Preparedness, in responding to major health and safety emergencies, and to disaster/crisis situations in a variety of settings around the county.
The MCOMH Disaster Mental Health (DMH) Response Team consists of approximately 130 masters prepared or licensed mental health professionals trained to provide crisis intervention and assistance as a part of our community response to Monroe County residents. In addition, support is provided to other organizations such as schools, mental health facilities, the Monroe County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Public Health and other County staff and leadership as requested. The Monroe County Emergency Operations Center works closely with the Red Cross Mental Health Unit, and the MCOMH DMH team in coordinating a community response to mental health needs during emergencies.
The DMH Advisory Committee represents community organizations and special needs populations to assist us in planning our response to behavioral health agencies, and for people and families affected by mental illnesses. This group also assists with recruitment for our DMH Team of professionals.
Examples of recent activities of DMH team:
- H1N1 Flu Shot Clinics – mobilized 50 team members to assist when H1N1 was designated as a pandemic flu.
- Participated and assisted in planning for exercises and drills related to a GINNA Radiological event, mass fatalities from plane and bus accidents, pandemic flu and providing staff to family assistance centers, shelters, Points of Dispensing (“PODS”), in a bioterrorism event, and other potential community locations.
- Prepared to assist American Red Cross & the Monroe County OEM as backup for smaller scale incidents when Red Cross team members were mobilized outside of Monroe County.
- Provided training in Psychological First Aid for community groups to support their disaster planning.
- Some DMH team members choose to volunteer as Special Needs Coordinators in their towns and sectors.
How can you get involved? Join Our Team!
Qualified professionals are encouraged to consider joining us as a part of our DMH team trained in DMH response. DMH team members must attend “Disaster Mental Health: A Critical Response”, a two-day experiential training developed by New York State OMH, NYS Department of Health, and the University of Rochester. This no-cost training is provided by MCOMH on a yearly basis.
- Provides knowledge and skills for professionals to respond effectively to mental health issues of individual and communities during a disaster.
- Creates a trained network of Mental Health professionals by county throughout New York State
- Achieves a workable state of readiness in NYS to share resources among counties as needed.
- Masters degree in a mental health or a related field, or
- Licensed Registered Nurses with specialization in behavioral health field
We request a commitment of at least two years and availability for response to local and/or surrounding counties. Trained volunteers may become leaders in their agencies to support emergency preparedness and response within their own organizations.
Please provide feedback or suggestions for future preparedness planning and development.
Please let us know of any areas of special needs in our community of which you may be aware.
Judy Watt, Monroe County Office of Mental Health Disaster Mental Health Coordinator
Contact Info: (585) 753-5125 or 753-2699
David Putney, Manager, Monroe County Priority Services & Socio-Legal Center
Contact Info: (585) 753-6332 or 753-5530