The Disaster Response Network (DRN) is a national network of APS psychologists who have a special interest, and self-nominated expertise in working with individuals and communities affected by disasters and emergencies in Australia, as well as those working to assist them.  The DRN was established in response to the Black Saturday Victorian bushfires of 7 February 2009.  In the days following the fires, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) received calls from hundreds of members offering their services and support to victims. The APS also began to receive a number of calls from emergency response agencies, including The Red Cross, which  were interested in gaining access to additional support to assist with the recovery effort. The APS responded by establishing a disaster register for members to register their interest and expertise in disaster recovery. 

DRN Aims

The primary aims of the DRN are to support members who want to work in the area of disaster response or who are interested in further training or experience in the field, as well as to support organisations seeking psychologists to work with communities and individuals affected by a disaster. 
The DRN will be used as a contact hub to:

  • Facilitate referrals for people seeking psychologists to work with individuals, families, groups or organisations
  • Inform members of training opportunities in disaster specific workshops
  • Provide members with updates in the field of disaster mental health

What sort of expertise do DRN members have?

Members of the DRN have self-reported expertise in a diverse range of areas including:

  • Working with emergency services
  • Working with first responders
  • Delivering skills for psychological recovery
  • Community recovery
  • Schools and disasters
  • Clinical interventions
  • PTSD
  • Grief and loss
  • Critical Incident Stress

Join the Disaster Response Network (DRN) now

To join the DRN, simply complete the DRN survey about your experience and skills in different areas of disaster response and recovery.

DRN Practitioner list

The DRN Practitioner list includes the names, locations and contact details of APS psychologists  who  have expressed an interest in working with people affected by disasters.

Current activities

Victorian Bushfires 2009. The city of Bendigo, which lost 50 homes and a stadium to fires, 8 February 2009.

APS Practice Certificate in Disaster Support

The APS Practice Certificate in Disaster Support consists of four online courses that focus on various aspects of preparing for disasters and responding to the social and psychological needs of persons and communities affected by disasters. Major emphasis is placed on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from natural disasters although course materials also have relevance for understanding human-made disasters.

This online certificate program in whole or part is suitable for psychologists, other health and counselling practitioners, volunteers and other service providers who may work, or are working, in disaster affected communities and who wish to prepare themselves for such work.

Courses can be selected and taken individually although the APS Institute strongly recommends Course A: Disasters in context as basic preparation for the three remaining courses that make up the program. Courses B and C deal with more specifically with psychologists’, counsellors’ and other practitioners’ service support in the early days or weeks following a natural disaster (Course B) and for people with moderate levels of distress in the months following an event (Course C). Course D addresses ethical and professional issues that should be managed when working in disaster affected communities.

The four online courses that constitute this training are:

In addition to receiving a certificate of completion for each course completed successfully, course enrolees who successfully complete all four courses above will receive the APS Practice Certificate in Disaster Support to acknowledge their completion of this extended program of training.

Further questions?

Any questions about the DRN can be sent to drn@psychology.org.au.