Become a Disaster Response Crisis Counselor

New Jersey is one of the first states in the nation to undergo a formal process for certification of its disaster crisis response workforce.

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Disaster Mental Health Helpline

(877) 294- HELP (4357)
TTY (877) 294-4356)

The Disaster Mental Health Helpline was first established through the Mental Health Association in New Jersey in response to the September 11, 2001 disaster and continues to support the services of the Disaster and Terrorism Branch during times of declared disasters or incidents that significantly affect New Jersey’s communities. The Helpline has language access and 24 hour capability.

Disaster and Terrorism Branch

The Disaster and Terrorism Branch is located within the Office of the Assistant Commissioner for Mental Health and Addiction Services. During a declared disaster, the Director of the Disaster and Terrorism Branch is responsible for activating the state's mental health disaster response plan in coordination with the Emergency Social Services Coordinator and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management. Each New Jersey County also maintains a county-specific, all-hazards mental health disaster plan. During times of disaster, the county's plan can also be activated by the County Mental Health Administrator in coordination with the County Office of Emergency Management and in collaboration with the state partners.

Services Available

The Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services has more than 120 contracted community mental health provider agencies. Federal grant programs provide disaster training for these mental health providers as well as private practitioners. The Disaster and Terrorism Branch is home to a multi-disciplinary Training and Technical Assistance Group (TTAG) which has the capacity to provide on-demand training for mental health professionals in the wake of disaster to further increase the state's capacity to address the psychosocial needs of the community. The services available through the Disaster and Terrorism Branch include:

  • Individual crisis counseling
  • Psychological first aid
  • Disaster-specific psycho-educational information
  • Group crisis counseling
  • Consultation and training
  • Information and referral services
  • Toll-free warm line services

The Branch works in close collaboration with public health, law enforcement, emergency management, and other professionals at the local, state and federal levels to coordinate mitigation, planning, response and recovery efforts. The Branch also actively promotes the participation of mental health professionals in drills, exercises, and ongoing professional development activities.

Last Reviewed: 9/15/2017