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Disaster Psychosocial Support

Helping to build emotional resilience within those affected by disaster.

The Disaster Psychosocial Support (DPS) team provides short-term support in the form of psychological first aid in response to larger scale events and emergencies such as wildfires and flooding evacuations. DPS consists of PHSA staff and volunteers who typically deploy to reception centres during evacuations. DPS may also deploy to apartment fires and other events which impact the wellbeing of individuals and communities. Telephone support for individuals may also be provided in coordination with a requesting agency. Please note: DPS is not a crisis line or counseling service. 

DPS team members assist individuals by:

  • Offering practical assistance and support to those wishing to receive it.
  • Reducing feelings of distress by providing a comforting presence.
  • Providing information on common stress reactions.
  • Connecting people to information, community resources, social supports and other helpful resources.
DPS also offers wellness check-ins for frontline staff as well as staff supporting emergency operations centres, Emergency Support Services, local governments and non-profit organizations. During prolonged responses and after emergencies, many responders find it helpful to identify and discuss the stressors related to their roles as well as ways they can cope and maintain their emotional health.

If you are interested in volunteering with the DPS Volunteer Network, please note that volunteers are screened to ensure they meet the necessary competencies. These competencies include but are not limited to:

  • education, training and experience equivalent to a Bachelor's degree in a related field
  • minimum of five (5) years' recent and related experience working with clients in the field of social work, mental health, counselling, crisis response, or similar professionJoin the DPS Volunteer Network

The DPS Volunteer Network is comprised of volunteers including registered professionals and paraprofessionals from: 

  • BC College of Social Workers
  • College of Psychologists of BC
  • BC Association of Clinical Counselors
  • Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association
  • Police Victim Services of BC
  • Canadian Association for Spiritual Care
For more information, send an email to

DPS volunteers are managed by the Provincial DPS Team, under Health Emergency Management BC (HEMBC), a program of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). The DPS Council has representatives from each of the above professional groups, as well as the Canadian Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and Emergency Social Services.

SOURCE: Disaster Psychosocial Support ( )
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