Disaster Behavioral Health Services: Resilience – Empowerment – Recovery

Disaster Behavioral Health Services’ (DBHS) mission is to provide acute and ongoing services and training for victims, survivors, and responders that will lessen the adverse behavioral health effects that may result from their involvement in natural or man-made traumatic events.

SPOTLIGHT: Disaster Behavioral Health Consortium

The purpose of the Disaster Behavioral Health (DBH) Consortium is to facilitate communication and increase coordination between disaster behavioral health response agencies during state and federal disasters or critical incidents. The DBH Consortium does not function as a response team. Rather, each agency acts independently and performs their respective functions during a disaster. The DBH Consortium serves as a planning and information sharing body that enhances the Incident Command System (ICS) through ongoing coordination of local, regional and state behavioral health resources. Learn More about the DBH Consortium »


The Texas State Emergency Management Plan designates the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) as the State Mental Health Authority. As the designated State Mental Health Authority, DSHS leads the response, recovery, and coordination of disaster behavioral health services provided in the event a state or federal disaster is declared. This includes public health, mental health, and substance abuse components. State Hospitals, Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHAs), Outreach, Screening, Assessment, and Referral offices (OSAR), and Substance Abuse treatment providers are responsible for pre-disaster preparation, as well as response and recovery efforts needed to ensure patient and client safety.

Although LMHAs are the first to respond to disasters in their areas for behavioral health needs, large events can significantly impact their ability to provide services. In that event, state and federal assistance may be available after a disaster if local behavioral health resources become overwhelmed. Under the DSHS Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division and the Adult Mental Health Services Unit, the DBHS Branch is responsible for providing and managing disaster behavioral health preparedness, response, and recovery efforts for Texas during and after a state or federally declared emergency. These services include:

  • Activating and coordinating acute and ongoing stress management and crisis counseling services for disaster victims, survivors, and emergency responders;
  • Providing and managing stress management and crisis counseling services at the local level through trained disaster behavioral health staff;
  • Providing pre- and post-disaster behavioral health training and education for LMHA staff and other providers involved in the Texas P.R.I.D.E Crisis Counseling Program (CCP),
  • Providing education, services, and intervention strategies to emergency service personnel, including dispatchers, who have experienced a critical incident such as line of duty death, death of a child, multiple casualty/fatality scenes, etc. through the Texas Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Network and;
  • Providing best practices tools and educational materials for contractors, victims, survivors, and responders.

Contact Us

 Disaster Behavioral Health Services

Deedra Harrison, Manager
Office phone: (512) 206-4695 

Aaron Caldwell, Planning Coordinator
Office phone: (512) 206-4695

Jennifer Reid, Response Coordinator
Office phone: (512) 206-4840

VACANT, Recovery Coordinator
Office phone: (512) 206-5866

Beverly Taylor, Operations Coordinator

Office phone: (512) 206-4852

Abbey Choma, Administrative Assistant
Office phone: (512) 206-5354

Disaster Behavioral Health Services
Texas Health and Human Services
Medical and Social Services Division
Behavioral Health Services Section 
PO Box 149347, Mail Code 2008 
Austin, Texas 78714-9911 


Last updated March 19, 2018