New Services Available: The American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Resources and Virtual Family Assistance Center

The American Red Cross has developed Disaster Mental Health resources--creating a video on Recognizing and Managing Stress for Healthcare Workers in a Public Health Emergency, led by Dr. James Halpern,  and opening the Virtual Family Assistance Center.  You can find out more information about these resources below;  

Recognizing and Managing Stress for Healthcare Workers in a Public Health Emergency can be found on the Red Cross ENY YouTube Channel- 

Dr. James Halpern is the founding Director of the Institute for Disaster Mental Health at SUNY New Paltz. 

Virtual Family Assistance Center: The American Red Cross is operating a virtual Family Assistance Center to provide comfort, support, information, and referrals for New York State families that have lost loved ones to the COVID-19 Coronavirus. The virtual Family Assistance Center will link families to crisis counselors who will provide emotional and spiritual support, as well as information and referrals to help them navigate the challenging process they might be facing as a result of their loved one’s death. 

A team of 30 specially-trained Red Cross Disaster Mental Health, Disaster Spiritual Care, and Health Services volunteers will be available to support families with their emotional and spiritual needs, as well as provide information and referrals to state and local agencies as well as other community organizations to help families meet their immediate needs. This may include challenges with moving their loved one’s body through systems that may be overwhelmed and have different process than normal; legal resources for estate, custody, immigration, or other issues related to the death of their family member; information on how to obtain travel services; and more. All Family Assistance Center support will be provided virtually and is completely confidential.

Families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 can fill out an online intake form, and a Family Assistance Center volunteer will contact them: 



Intake forms can also be filled out by a friend who thinks someone who needs help, or an agency working on behalf of the family. Those without online capabilities may call 585-957-8187, and a volunteer will assist them with the initial intake process. The Family Assistance Center is expected to operate for as long as families will benefit from the service.