APA psychologists mobilize for Red Cross response to Hurricane Charley


WASHINGTON Psychologists from across the nation are responding to a call by the American Psychological Association to help victims of Hurricane Charley.

The mobilization comes at the request of the American Red Cross, which has a statement of understanding with APA, to send specially-trained psychologists onsite during disasters. The psychologists are part of APA's Disaster Response Network (DRN), a national pro bono network of psychologists who complete Red-Cross-sanctioned training and then volunteer assistance to relief workers, victims, and victim's families after manmade or natural disasters.

Several DRN members have already been mobilized to assist victims of Hurricane Charley. APA has been in communication with Red Cross national headquarters throughout the weekend and with DRN members regarding relief operations.

DRN members help disaster victims cope with extremely stressful and often tragic circumstances. The more than 2,000 DRN members help problem-solve, make appropriate referrals to community resources, advocate for workers' and victims' needs, and provide information. They also focus on providing general emotional support and help people marshal their own successful coping skills in often extremely stressful and tragic circumstances.

"We anticipate that psychologists will be assisting with the Red Cross relief operations throughout September," said Russ Newman, PhD, JD, APA's executive director for professional practice. "Our experience with the trauma and distress caused by disasters like Hurricane Charley has demonstrated the need for emotional, as well as physical, relief efforts. Psychologists around the country very much want to contribute to meeting that need."

DRN members have volunteered more than 12,000 days in the past 10 years (more than $5.4 million worth of psychologists' time) helping the American Red Cross.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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