Disaster Mental Health

A new specialty has been emerging focusing on Disaster Mental Health. It has been spawned by both natural and human-generated disasters, which are associated with destruction, loss of loved ones and irreplaceable belongings, and which often overwhelms one's normal coping capacity.

Disasters also tend to stress emotional, cognitive, behavioral, physiological, and religious/spiritual beliefs. In light of this, ACA has assembled these resources to serve as a base for developing responses to disaster situations.

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ACA and The American Red Cross

Interested in Becoming a Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Volunteer?

As a Red Cross partner, ACA provides training to become a Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Volunteer. ACA members have been deployed through the Red Cross to such incidents as Hurricane Katrina, Virginia Tech, & Northern Illinois University. Each year free training is available to ACA members at the ACA Annual Conference. Upon course completion, attendees will receive continuing education credit and become eligible to be deployed by the Red Cross both locally and nationally. Interested members must meet the following criteria:

  • Participants must be licensed for independent practice by the State Counseling Licensure Board from the state in which you reside. Counselors in a two-tier state must be licensed at the higher, independent practice level; or a school counselor or school psychologist who has successfully completed a masters or doctoral degree and holds a current state license or state certification. For more information check the following links:
  • Valid practicing license (or school counseling certificate) at the time of training.
  • Current ACA member in good standing

Contact your local Red Cross chapter to find out more. Find your local chapter at http://www.redcross.org/find-your-local-chapter.

Questions? Contact Debbie Beales at dbeales@counseling.org or 800-347-6647 x306.

Sexual Abuse Resources


The allegations of sexual abuse by a coach at Penn State highlight both the frequency (the US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 1 out of every 100 children has been sexually abused) and the trauma that is experienced by survivors. Counselors are an important resource in promoting healing.

Sheltering In Place

Via the auspices of her doctoral research, the talented new professional counselor, Stephanie Dailey, compiled these guidelines for Sheltering-in-Place. Ms. Dailey worked in conjunction with the American Red Cross and other mental health associations to produce these guidelines as a special attaché to the American Counseling Association.

The American Counseling Association wishes to express its gratitude to Ms. Dailey for the time and effort she expended upon this project.

Sheltering-in-Place guidelines


Trauma Interest Network

To join the Trauma Interest Network, send an email to Holly Clubb with your request. Please allow 3-5 business days for a response.