Association Executive Directors Community

MHFA and FEMA's Crisis Counseling Program

  • 1.  MHFA and FEMA's Crisis Counseling Program

    Posted 05-08-2020 16:41

    Hi Association Executives,

    Many of your states have been approved by FEMA  to make an application via their state mental health agencies for Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program funding.

    Typically these FEMA crisis training and services are deployed in person, and in the community that has experienced a disaster. COVID-19 is different: the disaster is widespread, and counselors cannot be sent safely to the field. States are having to reconceptualize how to use this funding while ensuring the program has maximum impact. Mental Health First Aid presents a unique opportunity to meet these needs.

    California had the great idea to include Mental Health First Aid training in their funding application, and we encourage you to advocate with your state agency to include MHFA training as well.

    MHFA training has been adapted to a virtual setting, and aligns with many of the goals of the FEMA program which uses short term interventions (not mental health treatment) to help people:

    • Understand their current situation and reactions
    • Mitigate stress
    • Promote the use or development of coping strategies
    • Provide emotional support
    • Encourage links with other individuals and agencies who may help survivors in their recovery process

    Please let me know if you have any questions,

    Thank you!


    Frankie Berger
    Director, State Policy and Advocacy
    National Council for Behavioral Health