Shelby County Health Dept. launches disaster response team

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - Shelby County Health officials announced the creation of a special team of volunteers to aid with mental and emotional health after disasters Tuesday.

Officials said they've created their own the Mid-South Disaster Behavior Health Response Team (DBHRT) using 75 volunteers--some picked from a October training exercise to focus on the emotional and mental health of disaster victims.

"To teach responders how to intervene how to assess people how to properly interview them to see what their needs are," said Dr. Helen Morrow, Health Dept. officer.

According to officials, when the natural disaster, act of terrorism, or critical incident like a mass shooting happens in the Mid-South, the team will be deployed shortly after.

"The earlier we can intervene to assess someone and get them into the right system or in the right care, the better off they will be in the long run," said Dr. Morrow.

She said their aim is to assess and consider a person's past physical heath issues, mental heath issues, language barriers, or cultural restrictions when it comes to designating the right path towards recovery.

Officials said the most experienced volunteers, with fields ranging from education to substance abuse,could be deployed right away if a call did come in.

However within a year, the whole team will be ready to handle large major events.

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