Creating and Operating a Family Assistance Center - A Toolkit for Public Health


Behavior Health Services

From the onset of the FAC operations it is essential to have behavioral health services available for both the families and the responders and staff. This includes both mental health and spiritual care services.

Mental health services are available to:

  • Assist family members and FAC staff and volunteers in understanding and managing the full range of grief reactions.
  • Provide Psychological First Aid, crisis intervention, mediation, and management of “at risk” family members, including child and adolescent counseling.
  • Provide referrals, as requested, to mental health professionals and support groups that are in the family member’s local area.
  • Provide Psychological First Aid and grief process educational materials for the FAC.

Spiritual care services are available to:

  • Provide interdenominational pastoral counseling and spiritual care for people of all faiths who request it.
  • Conduct religious services and provide worship opportunities.
  • Provide emotional support and crisis intervention and assist mental health staff as needed, including providing Psychological First Aid.
  • Serve as a member of Death Notification Teams.

Throughout FAC operations, the behavioral health providers should be available at all group meetings with families and available to meet with families or staff individuals, as needed.  Providers should be available to circulate through all aspects of FAC operations, including at feeding areas, child care areas, in the staff respite areas, family interviews, family briefings, and at the reception and registration area.


The following is a sample of the Behavioral Health annex to the King County FAC Operation Plan, including job descriptions.

Behavioral Health Services Annex

Behavioral Health Branch Chief - JAS

Behavioral Health Responder - JAS

Behavioral Health Team Leader - JAS

In order to staff the behavioral health team that supports the FAC, PHSKC has leveraged our Medical Reserve Corps to create a dedicated Disaster Behavioral Response Team. The following are sample job descriptions and qualifications for each of the team member positions.

PHRC Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team Qualifications

Social Worker Job Description

Registered Mental Health Counselor Job Description

Psychiatrist Job Description

Psychiatric Nurse Job Description

Marriage & Family Therapist Job Description

Licensed Psychologist Job Description

Licensed Mental Health Counselor Job Description

Chaplain-Spiritual Care Worker Job Description


Psychological First Aid Resources

Psychological First Aid Worksheets for Providers

Psychological First Aid Handouts