On December 19, 2006, Disaster Behavioral Health Services launched a two-year project to develop a statewide partnership and structure for behavioral health disaster response. The initial event saw 59 people representing 44 agencies gather to begin the development process. This initial “Disaster Planning Council” formed four subcommittees: Unified Command, Resource Management, Communications and Training/Credentialing to guide the development of a strong disaster behavioral health response structure. The effort resulted in the formation of the Colorado Crisis Education and Response Network (CoCERN) and the signing of the Protocols and Guidelines document on December 19, 2008.
This statewide asset based in community partnerships and anchored by the Disaster Behavioral Health Services formed in order to deliver effective, efficient, and professional disaster behavioral health services. These services incorporate a variety of resources including mental health services, victim assistance, substance abuse treatment services, pastoral care, school-based crisis services and debriefings. CoCERN is envisioned as an inclusive, organized, collaborative and cooperative network for disaster behavioral health response. The network will be activated if the local disaster behavioral health response resources are depleted or overwhelmed. When requested, the member organizations will provide support and services to the lead local responding behavioral health agency, survivors, responders, responder families and the public following any large-scale event.
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