APA/MTV partnership supports hurricane volunteers and their families

APA is partnering with MTV to provide resources for a program to bring together volunteers aged 18-24 to help rebuild communities on the Gulf Coast that were devastated by hurricanes in 2005

by Communications Staff

March 28, 2006 — Young adults participating in hurricane relief efforts through MTV’s “Storm Corps” program can now access mental health materials provided by APA.

APA is partnering with MTV to provide resources for “Storm Corps,” MTV and United Way's “Alternative Spring Break” program designed to bring together volunteers aged 18-24 to help rebuild communities on the Gulf Coast that were devastated by hurricanes in 2005. A hundred young people from around the country were selected to participate in the program, and volunteers spent the week of March 11-18 assisting in rebuilding efforts in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Foley, Alabama.

APA has contributed two fact sheets to assist “Storm Corps” volunteers and their families: “Tips for Hurricane Volunteers” and “Tips for Parents of Hurricane Volunteers.” The fact sheets outline strategies for addressing and managing emotions that the volunteers may encounter, as well as what to do if the volunteers feel overwhelmed. They also include instructions for locating a psychologist using the APA Practice Organization’s Psychologist Locator Service.

The fact sheets are posted at the Storm Corps” Blog, which is a communications hub for “Storm Corps” participants and leaders and their families and friends. Visitors to the blog, which receives 2,000 hits a day, are encouraged to take the tips sheets with them if they are volunteering in the Gulf Coast, or share them with friends who are traveling there in the coming weeks and months. The fact sheets also are available at The APA Help Center in the “Disasters & Terrorism” section.

APA’s Disaster Response Network (DRN) coordinators developed recommendations for the fact sheets during the APA Practice Organization’s State Leadership Conference earlier this month. The DRN is a national network of psychologists with training in disaster response who assist relief works, victims, and victims’ families after natural or manmade disasters. Last fall, the DRN, together with its partner, the American Red Cross, mobilized hundreds of volunteer psychologists in response to the hurricanes.

APA has partnered with MTV on several public education initiatives, including the "Warning Signs" campaign about the warning signs of teen violence, and the "Resilience in a Time of War: Adapting to Wartime Stress" brochure aimed at teens.

"Because of MTV's large audience, it has proven to be an excellent partner in reaching out to teens and young adults about the value of psychology," said Helen Mitternight, assistant executive director for public relations.