Emergency Mental Health Sector

Purpose of the Emergency Mental Health Function

The purpose of the Emergency Mental Health Function is to ensure rapid deployment of specially trained emergency mental health responders during/subsequent to a disaster or critical incident in which a large portion of the population is affected.

Goal of the Emergency Mental Health Function

The goal of the Emergency Mental Health function is to provide psychological first aid, crisis intervention, and critical incident stress management services and support to victims, their significant others, bystanders, the community at large, and emergency responders during the acute period following a disaster or critical incident. Interventions provided by specially trained emergency mental health responders help to mitigate acute stress symptoms and reduce anxiety and fear among the population impacted by the incident. Such interventions are designed to facilitate expression and understanding of disaster-caused stress and anticipated reactions. The provision of emergency mental health also helps those affected to develop and/or implement adaptive coping and problem-solving skills.

Psychological first aid, crisis intervention and critical incident stress management help to reduce the initial distress caused by disasters and critical incidents and short and long-term adaptive functioning via:

  • Offering comfort
  • Providing for basic needs
  • Validating thoughts and feelings
  • Supporting reality-based practical tasks
  • Providing access to information
  • Increasing the sense of safety
  • Connecting survivors to support systems
  • Normalizing stress reactions when appropriate
  • Reinforcing positive coping strengths
  • Facilitating problem resolution
  • Providing education on critical incident stress and stress management
  • Offering advocacy
  • Encouraging mutual support

For More Information, contact:

Bonita S. Frazer, MS, CTS, FAAETS, SMART EMH Sector Leader and Mental Health Emergency Planning Coordinator at 716-856-9835 Ext. 204 or via email at bonitafrazer@yahoo.com

Or

Gregory G. Homish, PhD, SMART EMH Alternate Sector Leader at 716-829-6959 or via email at ghomish@buffalo.edu