Institute for Disaster Mental Health (ARCHIVED)

Institute for Disaster Mental Health (ARCHIVED)



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Mission and History


The Institute for Disaster Mental Health (IDMH) seeks to address the diversity of disaster mental health demands in the region, state, nation, and the global community so that all those impacted by disaster and trauma have access to the mental health support they need. To accomplish this goal, IDMH provides leadership to advance the field of disaster mental health and trauma response through training, research, consultation, and service.  IDMH works to establish and disseminate best practices in order to ensure that all disaster mental health services are evidence-supported and culturally sensitive.



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  page for more information.

Our 15-credit Advanced Certificate in Trauma and Disaster Mental Health offers specialized education in treating trauma survivors for mental health professionals and graduate students in counseling, social work, and related fields. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. 

Regular updates on IDMH activities can also be found on our Facebook page