Antioch University New England hosted its second training of students, staff, and faculty through New Hampshire’s Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team (DBHRT). The DBHRT builds New Hampshire’s capacity statewide to respond to disasters through a coordinated effort. The training, led by Jennifer Schirmer, disaster behavioral health coordinator for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, was coordinated by Dr. Cathy Lounsbury, core faculty member in the AUNE Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, who serves as team liaison for the collaboration between AUNE and DBHRT.
The New Hampshire Department of Safety, Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) developed DBHRT to respond to the mental health needs of New Hampshire residents and responders following disasters and critical incidents. There are five regional disaster behavioral health response teams which can be deployed immediately anywhere in the state. These teams respond when local behavioral health resources have been depleted or are overwhelmed. Over 800 Behavioral Health Response Team members have completed specialized training in basic disaster behavioral health response. Team members operate under the supervision of DHHS’s Disaster Behavioral Health Coordinator, receive ongoing training and participate in community/statewide drills and exercises.