Disaster Response Network
APA's Disaster Response Network (DRN) is a group of approximately 2,500 licensed psychologists across the U.S. and Canada who have expertise in the psychological impact of disasters on individuals, families and communities. Informed by psychological research, DRN members voluntarily engage in preparedness, response and recovery activities.
The DRN supports APA's mission to apply psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.
In the United State, DRN members are or become Red Cross Disaster Mental Health (DMH) volunteers. APA partners with the American Red Cross to facilitate this connection. Some DRN members work with other disaster entities such as a state crisis response team or the Medical Reserve Corps.
In Canada, DRN members offer psychological assistance primarily through provincial ministries of health. Some provincial DRN programs also have collaborative agreements with their province's Red Cross chapters.
Benefits of Volunteering
- Engage in something new in a different environment.
- Belong to a supportive group.
- Network and collaborate with colleagues.
- Obtain up-to-date information and education.
- Experience the resilience of disaster survivors.
- Understand the power of presence and how support can engage survivors in active coping important to long-term recovery.
- See your efforts make a difference.
- Become involved and knowledgeable about your community.
- Choose activities that fit your schedule.
- Track disaster mental health research, trends and resources.
- Participate in community disaster planning meetings, drills and exercises.
- Teach disaster mental health courses.
- Develop articles for APA Psychology Help Center and Your Mind, Your Body.
- Promote resilience — many people cope and overcome disasters.
- Offer emotional and behavioral support to survivors and response workers to enhance their resilience skills using Red Cross approved DMH interventions.
- Consult with and provide support to responders colleagues.
- Field media inquiries on common reactions to disaster.
- Collect and share resource information.
- Offer psycho-educational programming to community groups on common challenges that occur months and years after disaster.
- Promote community support and resilience building activities.
- Record successes and challenges of response and recovery to shape future planning.
Take a free 30-minute Red Cross online course "Disaster Mental Health: Introduction" to see if these activities may be for you. The course fact sheet (PDF, 57.5KB) contains directions on how to access the online course.
DRN members supplement their psychology training with disaster-specific classes, American Red Cross and government agency courses, and professional conferences and workshops.
Please contact your state, provincial or territorial psychological association to connect with its DRN coordinator, or contact the APA's DRN Office.