Disaster Response Network (DRN):

The American Psychological Association (APA) created its Disaster Response Network (DRN) in 1991 as part of the association’s 100-year anniversary commemoration of signing a memorandum of understanding between the APA and the American Red Cross. The DRN is a network of psychologists who are trained in disaster mental health and provide pro bono services to disaster survivors and relief workers.

The DRN works collaboratively with the American Red Cross and other relief organizations to   provide psychological support to disaster survivors and first responders. The aim is to address the psychological well-being and mental health needs of those affected by disasters with a swift response coordinated by the APA DNR.

The Louisiana Psychological Association (LPA) has a standing DRN committee, though it does not have a standing disaster response network, per se. Rather, LPA relies on its designated “Disaster Response Network” committee within LPA Public Affairs to activate a LPA disaster response as needed. This committee, typically chaired by a member of LPA Public Affairs, remains ready to issue a call to LPA members should a crisis or disaster warrant a response. Thus, the LPA DRN is a LPA unit that is activated when needed.

For example, the DRN was activated in response to the novel corona virus pandemic in early 2020 when the need for support to front-line healthcare workers became evident. The LPA disaster response to the pandemic was formally represented by the creation of the LPA COVID-19 Response Task Force on April 4, 2020. Thus, LPA’s “disaster response network” relies on the existence of the DRN committee within Public Affairs to reach out to the entire membership of LPA when a need arises. The entire LPA membership is considered the network, thus allowing for unique crisis needs to be identified and addressed by those psychologists who are both available and qualified for the unique crisis. If you are interested in learning more about the Disaster Response Network committee and ways you can help, please contact Public Affairs Chairs, Stephanie Grant & Sonia Blauvelt, Ph.D.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a comprehensive list of trainings and resources pertinent to disaster mental health for both survivors and first responders including a video series on Promising Practices in Disaster Behavioral Health and a comprehensive Disaster Planning Handbook for Behavioral Health Treatment programs.


National Disaster Resources

APA: Responding to a Disaster
FEMA: Emergency Management Institute
National Center for PTSD: Psychological First Aid

State-Level Disaster Resources

Louisiana Emergency Preparedness
LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute
Louisiana Department of Child & Family Services