The Center for Multicultural Mental Health (CMMH) haits provided Disaster Behavioral Health Response (DBHR) training to responders in Massachusetts and across the nation since 2001. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Emergency Preparedness Bureau (DPH), with collaboration with the Department of Mental Health (DMH), is offering Psychological First Aid trainings.
Massachusetts, through the DPH, in collaboration with DMH and CMMH, has made great strides in equipping the state with a network of behavioral health professionals trained to provide Psychological First Aid (PFA) services. Although to date a number of responders have been trained, there remains a clear need to train additional providers in both basic and advanced disaster behavioral health response, across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This series of trainings includes: PFA, the Human Impact of Disasters/Trauma, and Self Care.
Specifically training focuses on participants gaining a thorough understanding of the components, utility, and practice of Psychological First Aid. These sessions are both theoretical and experiential in nature, providing attendees an opportunity to learn the basics and to apply the learned material. Trainings are offered by a master behavioral health trainers and co-instructors in a plenary format utilizing the latest evidence-base. All trainings are provided utilizing effective cross-cultural lenses. Within each training module PFA is defined for a specific context.
The aim is to provide basic knowledge of the core components and concepts of PFA followed by hands-on training (experientially-oriented) incorporating appropriate
awareness, knowledge and skills to work effectively across cultural differences. Trainings range from Basic PFA, to PFA with First Responders, to PFA with Refugees and Immigrants, to PFA with LGBTQ populations, and PFA with Substance Abusing populations. Additional trainings have focused on PFA with Children and Parents in the aftermath of disaster.
2013 - Present
Working with the victims who survived the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. Provide behavioral health services to individuals. Consultation and training with agencies in the aftermath and major presentations on the topic of resilience and recovery from trauma. Development of Boston Marathon Bombing Victim/Survivor Resiliency Center http://www.maresiliencycenter.org/.
Trained a delegation of health care professionals from Japan after the 2011 earthquake
off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku, Japan. Consulted with international relief agency to assist the population.
Delivered disaster behavioral health services to Haitian citizens and their families in the Boston area. Provided consultation to health centers and other human services centers working with the population. Provided training to mental health and health care personnel. Delivered direct services in Haiti to the effected population.
2010 – 2011
Provided intervention services with families of the Mattapan Massacre (Boston) in which five individuals were shot and only one survived. Services included Psychological First Aid, consultation and community forums.
2005 - 2010
In response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, provided consultation, training, services to the impacted population of New Orleans, Louisiana, and surrounding areas. Services provided to government (local, state, Federal) and to community-based organizations. Conducted statewide survey of need among human services workers after the disaster. Also completed an evaluation of service utilization in the aftermath in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Provided trainings on Disaster Behavioral Health Response across the nation as part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Behavioral Health Cadre
Station Night Club fire response (West Warwick, Rhode Island) in which staff provided response services to victims brought to Boston of medical care, and their families. 2003
Scaffolding collapse in Boston that led to three deaths. Provided Psychological First Aid and ongoing interventions, as needed, with construction staff.
On 9/11 Directed the behavioral health service in the Family Assistance Center at Logan International Airport after the two jet planes, from Logan, crashed into the World Trade Center North and South towers. Staff worked with families of the victims on the flights, flight staff, grounds crew (i.e. baggage, counter, mechanics, fire and others). These services extended for several years. Pioneered components of Psychological First Aid.