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Institute for Disaster Mental Health


Working in collaboration with SUNY New Paltz professionals and community leaders, the IDMH offers education and training in disaster mental health, including conferences, workshops and seminars that reflect recent research and best practices.

IDMH programs include:

  • Training and consulting in disaster mental health for professionals, paraprofessionals, and community members, including state-wide trainings for the New York State Office of Mental Health and Department of Health. See our Professional Trainings page for additional information about available trainings.
  • An annual conference addressing different aspects of “Helping in a Time of Crisis.”  Previous conference topics have included Lessons from Disaster (2003); Helping in a Time of Crisis (2005); Treatment Innovations for Disaster/Trauma Survivors (2006); Our Community Prepares (2007), Healing the Scars of War (2008), and In the Wake of Disaster: Effective Mental Health Interventions (2009). The next event will be a professional training, Cognitive Processing Therapy: Two-day Training for Treating PTSD. This course will be led by the creator of Cognitive Processing Therapy, Patricia A. Resick, Ph.D., on March 25 and 26, 2010, and is supported by a grant from the New York State Office of Mental Health. Please see the upcoming conference page for more details.
  • An 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. Students take Disaster Psychology, Crisis Intervention, a Practicum in Disaster Studies including a fieldwork placement with the American Red Cross or area Emergency Management Offices, and nine additional credits in core courses and electives. Those completing the minor will become certified responders for the American Red Cross. Interested students can download the course descriptions*   and the minor form*.
  • A Certificate of Achievement in Disaster Mental Health for advanced counseling interns and mental health professionals, who take the graduate-level Disaster Mental Health class and seven American Red Cross training courses, and complete at least 20 hours in volunteer services in disaster preparedness, such as teaching Red Cross courses, serving on Disaster Action Teams, or assisting at shelters, family services centers, or memorial services. This certificate will enable them to respond to local, regional and national disasters as credentialed Disaster Mental Health workers. Interested students can download the form here*.

Institute for Disaster Mental Health Director, Dr. James Halpern, who's staff works with the American Red Cross to offer Disaster Services Training, speaks about the importance of post-disaster psychological support for victims of a disaster in this Red Cross of Greater New York Region video clip:

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