Disasters are not uncommon events, and take many forms. Ranging from house fires to hurricanes and floods, and from plane crashes to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and other acts of terrorism, disasters can rob us of our loved ones, our possessions, and our sense of well-being. Disasters can forever change life as we knew it, and seriously impact our ability to function. The mental health community recognizes that advance preparation, early intervention, and unique follow up techniques can assist those whose lives are touched by disaster.
The Institute for Disaster Mental Health at SUNY New Paltz was founded in 2004 to prepare students, community members, paraprofessionals, and professionals in the helping fields to care for others following a disaster via evidence-based disaster mental health interventions, content, and skills. IDMH programs include developing and presenting professional trainings in disaster mental health; research and dissemination on training needs to improve community preparedness, and an annual conference or training that brings experts in the field to the New Paltz campus.
IDMH also supports a SUNY New Paltz interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in disaster studies. The minor focuses on events of natural, technological and human-induced origin and on how these affect individuals, communities, organizations, and the nation. It is designed to recognize the multi-disciplinary nature of both research and practice in disaster studies. Courses highlight scholarship and practice related to disaster and trauma mitigation and prevention, response, support, recovery, treatment, and policy formulation and planning, as well as the implications of these events at the individual, group, organizational and community level. Those completing the minor will become certified responders for the American Red Cross. Interested students should refer to the Undergraduate Minor page for more information. We are also currently developing an Advanced Certificate in Trauma and Disaster Mental Health for graduate students and mental health professionals that will begin in Summer 2014; please check back for news on that program.
Regular updates on IDMH activities can be found on our Facebook page. Please click the link in the box on the upper right of this page to check for the latest news.