Disaster Mental Health Workers

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As trauma gained a general understanding and the need for mental health practitioners to understand and treat its effect on those affected, so grew the need for disaster mental health (DMH) workers. As stated by Halpern and Tramontin (2007), although there may be no more stressful setting than a battlefield or combat zone similar symptoms can be found in the unnerving events in day-to-day life (p. 57). “If traumatic stress had remained relevant only in the context of war, there would be no DMH field” (Halpern & Tramontin, 2007, p. 57). With trauma and disasters being acknowledged in the lives of every day individuals, so grew the need for first responders with the ability to provide early interventions for the psychological well being of survivors. There are many agencies that utilize DMH. “DMH helpers often work as part of or collaborate with the organizations responsible for tending to those needs” (Halpern & Tramontin, 2007, p. 64). There are many organizations that utilized DMH. A few of the major organizations that utilize DMH are FEMA and the American Red Cross. These agencies understand the importance of having trained DMH helpers on hand at the site of a disaster to assist survivors cope and manage through their trauma. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is “tasked with responding to, planning for and recovering from disasters” (Halpern & Tramontin, 2007, p. 64). Through the Disaster Relief Act of 1974, FEMA was able to fund training for a
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