Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team


A Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team is an elite group of volunteers that responds to the mental health needs of a community in the aftermath of a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or critical incident. It's an evidence-informed concept that has been successfully established in several states. This is the first DBHRT to be created in the state of Tennessee. 


To lessen the adverse mental health effects of trauma on victims, survivors, and responders. 


Team members come from diverse backgrounds with experience in human services, psychology, mental health, substance abuse, social work, psychiatry, education, or spirituality. They receive ongoing training and participate in drills and special events. 


DBHRT provides a variety of interventions at a disaster scene, including:
  • Behavioral Health Needs Assessment
  • Psychological First Aid
  • Crisis Incident stress Management
  • Community Outreach
The team assists communities throughout the Memphis MSA, which includes: Shelby, Tipton, and Fayette counties (TN); DeSoto County (MS), and Crittenden County (AR). 

If necessary, in a large-scale incident, the team can deploy anywhere in the United States to fulfill an official request for assistance. 


Once you submit your application and it is approved (a background check will be done), you will begin taking free courses offered by a mnumber of organizations, including FEMA, Homeland Security, University of Texas A&M, and nationally known subject-matter experts. Training is critical in your ability to respond successfully to a disaster. 

Among the required courses are:
  • Incident Command System
  • National Incident Management System
  • Psychological First Aid
  • Community Emergency Response Team certification
  • PsySTART (a mental health triage system
On-going education includes such topics as: 
  • Children in Disasters
  • Cultural Competency
  • Active Shooter
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Natural Disasters
  • Shelter Operations


The Memphis MSA Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team is sponsored by the Shelby County Health Department's 150th Medical Reserve Corps. Program guidance is provided by the Tennessee Region VII Disaster Mental Health Response Committee, which is comprised of Alliance Healthcare Services, Red Cross of the Mid-South, Youth Villages, Shelby County Office of Preparedness, City of Memphis Fire Department, Shelby County Schools Mental Health Center, Methodist University Hospital, and Universal Health Services. 


  • You must be 18 years or older
  • Current licensure in any behavioral health field is preferred, but not required! All volunteers are welcome. 
  • Register HERE​. 
**Note: To register for the DBHRT, you will also be registering as a volunteer with the Medical Reserve Corps. The link above will take you to a short registration form to join the Mid-South Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team. You will then be directed to Volunteer Mobilizer, the state's volunteer registration page. Please complete all required fields as you register.