Disaster Behavioral Health


Course Overview

Course Quality Rating


Course Description

This course is provided by Northwest Center for Public Health Practice and will require a secondary login and/or registration.

Many public health workers are confident in their ability to handle the physical tasks involved in responding to a disaster, but what about the psychological challenges? In this one-hour online course, Randy Beaton, PhD, EMT discusses the psychological phases of a community-wide disaster, common patterns of immediate and long-term public response, mental health risks that rescue workers and victims face, signs that might indicate that a survivor needs a mental health evaluation, and the importance of local preparedness. The course bases its case studies on Washington State agencies and plans.                                                                                                  

Click the LAUNCH button below to start or be taken to the course. 

Target Audience

This course is designed for Mental health providers, social workers, physicians, nurses, EMTs, first responders, faith-based chaplains, health planners, emergency response planners, other public health practitioners, and health educators. 

Learning Objectives

Having completed this course, the learner will be able to:

  1. List three of the common psychosocial phases of a community-wide disaster
  2. Describe the various individual behavioral health outcomes that usually occurring the aftermath of disasters
  3. Identify abnormal reactions to disaster that might indicate a need for a psychological evaluation
  4. Describe how the Washington State mental health disaster response plan incorporates local, state, and federal agencies 

Council of Linkages Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (COL)/COL Tier(s)

  1. 1A.1 (Tier 1): Identifies the health status of populations and their relation determinants of health and illness
  2. 1A.2 (Tier 1): Describes the characteristics of a population-based health problem
  3. 5A.7 (Tier 1): Describes the role of governmental and non-governmental organizations in the delivery of community health services

Professional/Disciplinary Competencies

CDC, Public Health Preparedness and Response Core Competency Model

Model Leadership

  • 1.2 Manage behaviors associated with emotional responses in self and others.
  • 1.4 Maintain situational awareness.

CDC, Public Health Preparedness Capabilities

Capability 2: Community Recovery

  • Function 1: Identify and monitor public health, medical, and mental/behavioral health system recovery needs

Capability 5. Fatality Management

  • Function 4: Participate in survivor mental/behavioral health services

Capability 7. Mass Care

  • Function 3: Coordinate public health, medical, and mental/behavioral health services 



Credit /CEU

None available


1 hrs. 


None listed 

Course Publication Date

None listed