Roundtable: Blue Sky Partnerships: Creating an effective disaster behavioral health response

Megan Sullivan, Jaime Angelini, Ruth Kaluski, Maureen Brogan, & Jamie Bodrog-PowellConstitution Hall Room 1

Abstract: The Disaster and Terrorism Branch (DTB) was officially formed as the behavioral health authority in New Jersey for response community Crises. The team is available for emergency deployment 24/7. DTB is involved across all four phases of emergency management (i.e., mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery).

The DTB has two primary functions: Training & Technical Assistance (TTAC), and Disaster Response. The staff provide a range of training and technical assistance to partner agencies and communities addressing the behavioral aspects of such threats as:

  • Community Response to Mass Violence (shooting, bombing, vehicle attacks, others)
  • Natural Disasters
  • Active Shooter/Active Assailant
  • CBRNE/Radiation Emergencies
  • Collective Violence, Civil Unrest and Crowd Behavior 
  • Public Health emergency topics, such as, COVID-19, Ebola, flu, etc.


DTB Partnerships

DTB has partnered with the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) for two decades to plan for and respond to natural disasters and community crises. MHANJ has a 75-year history in leading the transformation of our state's behavioral health system from the deinstitutionalization of state psychiatric hospitals to today's focus on the integration of physical health and behavioral health. DTB has coordinated with MHANJ on several FEMA/SAMHSA Crisis Counseling Programs after presidentially declared disasters such as Superstorm Sandy and COVID-19.

The partnership can be highlighted with the joint creation of the Disaster Response Crisis Counseling Certification (DRCC). This initiative began in 2004 as a response to the chaotic influx of volunteer mental health responders after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The need for collaboration to create a vetted, well-trained and exercised cadre of behavioral health responders became a priority. The DRCC continues to be co-managed by the DTB and MHANJ and has over 450 volunteers trained, vetted, and prepared to respond to behavioral health crises anywhere in the state of New Jersey.

Since 2000, the TLC has been providing support to communities affected by traumatic events such as homicide and illness; the most difficult being suicide.

The dual mission of the TLC is excellence in suicide prevention and trauma response assistance to schools following unfortunate losses due to suicide, homicide, accident, and illness.  This is accomplished through county, regional, and statewide conferences, training, consultation, onsite traumatic loss response, and technical assistance.  The purpose is to ensure that those working with youth from a variety of disciplines and programs have up-to-date knowledge about mental health issues, suicide prevention, traumatic grief, and resiliency enhancement. 

DTB has also collaborated with the Traumatic Loss Coalition of New Jersey (TLC). Since 2000, the TLC has been providing support to communities affected by traumatic events such as homicide and illness; the most difficult being suicide. The TLC has created an expanding statewide network that effectively works to prevent suicide and promote hope, healing, and resiliency in the aftermath of traumatic loss.

Throughout the COVID-19 SAMSHA funded Crisis Counseling Program, DTB partnered with the TLC for cross-training in nationally evidenced based models such as Skills for Psychological Recovery.

As we look forward to continuing this partnership, we are focusing training on emerging threats such as the behavioral implications of climate change.

In addition to the trauma caused by the increasing frequency and intensity of climate-fueled disasters, rising global temperatures also play a part in social tensions boiling over in communities, schools, and workplaces. There is also an important nexus between climate change and violence potential, ranging from interpersonal violence to civil unrest, extremism, and even war. Disaster Behavioral Health Responders must begin to reflect on this reality and be in step with the growing body of research addressing climate change and human behavior. 

This roundtable will focus on the creation and maintenance of these partnerships during blue sky days which has better prepared New Jersey to respond in an organized, effective way in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

Host

Megan Sullivan, LPC, LCADC

  • Title: Director, Disaster & Terrorism Branch, Division of Mental Health, and Addiction Services NJ Department of Human Services
  • Bio: Ms. Sullivan is the Director of the Disaster & Terrorism Branch of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. She is a certified Disaster Response Crisis Counselor, trained in the FEMA and Red Cross models and is currently a part of the Division of Mental Health and Addictions’ Disaster and Terrorism Branch which develops contingency planning for the public’s mental health needs surrounding various types of emergencies. She serves on the Operations Board of the Disaster Response Crisis Counselor Certification and is one of the trainers for the DRCC curriculum. She is a member of the NJEMS taskforce and has deployed with them to the US Virgin Islands. Sullivan is a graduate of Villanova University and holds a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She holds licenses as a Professional Counselor and Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She has also trained in marital and family counseling at The Center for Family, Community and Social Justice in Princeton, NJ.

Panelists

Jaime Angelini

  • Job Title: Statewide Director of Disaster Services and Special Projects Mental Health Association in New Jersey
  • Bio: Jaime Angelini is the Statewide Director of Disaster Services and Special Projects at the Mental Health Association in NJ (MHANJ). For two decades she has worked at MHANJ as a director, mental health trainer and mental health advocate. In addition to her work at MHANJ, Jaime is a responder and trainer for the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Disaster and Terrorism Branch. Jaime is a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor(Adult, Youth and Teen), Suicide Prevention Trainer, Stress First Aid Trainer, Parent Educator, Disaster Response Crisis Counselor and a certified National trainer in Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR).
  • Mental Health Association in NJ Facebook
  • MHANJ LinkedIn
  • MHANJ Instagram
  • MHANJ Twitter
  • MHANJ YouTube

Ruth Kaluski

  • Title: Statewide Director-Mental Health First Aid, Director-Career Connection Employment Resource Institute Mental Health Association in New Jersey
  • Bio: Ruth Kaluski, MS, CRC, LMHC, is the Statewide Director of Strategic Programs at the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ). Ruth is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with over 25 years experience supporting individuals living with mental illness, substance use disorders and other co-occurring conditions. Ruth coordinates MHANJ's Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program and is currently the lead in partnership with the New Jersey Council of County Colleges focusing on imbedding mental health awareness and suicide prevention training to New Jersey’s County Colleges. Ruth is an experienced trainer and advocate. She is a National Trainer for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and teaches the adult, youth, and teen curriculums locally. Ruth has been heavily involved in supporting disaster relief mental health programs during Hurricane Ida and the COVID-19 pandemic. Ruth holds a Master of Science from the Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Maureen Brogan

  • Title: Program Manager, Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth (TLC), Rutgers Health
  • Bio: Maureen is the Program Manager for the Statewide Traumatic Loss Coalition. The Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth Program (TLC) at Rutgers-University Behavioral Health Care is New Jersey's primary youth suicide prevention program funded by the Department of Children and Families. The TLC is an interactive, statewide network that offers collaboration and support to those working with school-age youth. The dual mission of the TLC is excellence in suicide prevention and trauma response assistance to youth serving organizations following unfortunate losses due to suicide, homicide, accident and illness. Maureen is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Approved Clinical Supervisor and a Diplomate at the American Academy of Experts in Trauma.  She is a Master Trainer in the evidence based practice of suicide prevention Question Persuade Refer.  She is a certified Talk Saves Lives trainer for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention and the assistant producer of Signs Matter: Early Detection online suicide prevention training for educators. She is a certified Psychological First Aid Trainer (PFA) and Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
  • Rutger's University Behavioral Health Care on Twitter

Jamie Bodrog-Powell

  • Title: Deputy Director, Disaster & Terrorism Branch Division of Mental Health, and Addiction Services NJ Department of Human Services
  • Bio: Jamie Bodrog-Powell is the Deputy Director of the Disaster & Terrorism Branch of the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. She has more than 10 years of experience in the field of Emergency Management working to improve Mass Care response and helping disaster survivors in various capacities. Jamie has her BS in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from Thomas Edison State University.
Sun 12:00 am - 12:00 am
100 max
day two, disaster and terrorism branch, roundtable, state services