The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP) grants that fully reimburse state mental health authorities and tribal nations for mental health assistance and training activities in counties included in a presidentially declared disaster.
CCP services can be provided by the state, territory or tribe, or through a contract with local service providers that are familiar with the communities affected by the disaster. In Texas, Health and Human Services (HHS) contracts with local organizations to provide these confidential, free services. The CCP encourages the use of mental health professionals and trained paraprofessionals who live and work in the community and reflect its cultural makeup.
The Center for Mental Health Services' Emergency Mental Health and Traumatic Stress Services Branch works with FEMA through an interagency agreement to provide technical assistance, consultation and training for state and local mental health staff, as well as grant administration and program oversight. The center is within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
CCP Grants Overview
Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) develops and submits FEMA-funded CCP grant applications on behalf of HHS Disaster Behavioral Health -Coordination (DBHC), local service providers and impacted communities in disaster-declared counties. Grant applications are based on local needs and developed in collaboration with service providers.
DBHC oversees the federal grant programs by hiring staff to manage finances and coordinating with contracted service providers. Staff also regularly monitor and report to ensure the program meets its objectives and complies with staffing and expenditure parameters.
CCP staffing includes specialists who ensures special survivor populations receive needed services. Those populations include children, first responders, veterans, older adults, people with disabilities, single parents, people who are economically disadvantaged, non-English speakers, and other traditionally underserved and vulnerable groups.
The main goals of the CCP include:
- Relieving stress.
- Reinforcing healthy coping strategies.
- Reducing future behavioral health problems.
- Promoting individual and community resilience.
Services provided through the CCP are anonymous, free, and provided in non-traditional locations such as homes, shelters, hotels, disaster recovery centers, churches, schools, community events and other locations. Read a list of participating local mental and behavioral health authorities and their contact information (PDF).
CCP funding is available to providers through two grant programs:
- The Immediate Services Program (ISP) provides immediate, short-term disaster relief and crisis counseling services for up to 60 days after a major disaster declaration.
- The Regular Service Program (RSP) provides help with disaster relief for up to nine months after a major disaster declaration. Funding is used when needed for ongoing counseling services and support.
Texans Recovering Together
Texans Recovering Together is the state CCP program administered within the DBHC. The program provides short-term stress management and crisis counseling to individuals and groups having psychological reactions to large-scale, presidentially declared disasters. By providing emotional support and interventions, Texans Recovering Together CCP grants help people recover from the impact of disasters.
What is Crisis Counseling?
Crisis counseling involves methods designed to relieve mental and emotional crises and the resulting psychological and behavioral conditions caused by a major disaster. The purpose is to lessen the adverse mental health effects of those who have experienced trauma from both natural and non-natural disasters.
Crisis counseling entails assisting people affected by disasters with finding personal and community resources that will aid in their recovery process. Supportive and educational face-to-face interventions are held with people and communities in their natural environments.
Crisis counseling is considered strengths-based because it assumes most people affected by disasters are naturally resilient. By providing support, education and links to community resource, people will be better equipped to recover from the negative consequences of disasters.
While crisis counseling assumes most people are naturally resilient, screenings and assessments are done to assist those who have a more adverse reaction to disasters. Crisis counselors know that few people will develop diagnosable conditions and are trained to identify those having severe reactions and referring them to appropriate treatment services and community resources. Mental health treatment for people with an existing mental health condition or disorder usually occurs in a formal office setting, while disaster crisis counseling occurs in non-traditional settings.
Crisis counselors also strive to enhance social and emotional connections to others in the community and promote effective coping strategies and resilience. Counselors work closely with community organizations to better understand the available resources and connect survivors to needed services.
- HHSC Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Brochure (PDF in English)
- HHSC Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Brochure (PDF in Spanish)
- FEMA Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program Guidance (PDF)
- Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program Toolkit, Version 5.0, July 2016
Disaster Behavioral Health -Coordination
Behavioral Health Services
P.O. Box 13247, Mail Code 2008
Austin, TX 78711