British Red Cross - Psychosocial Reserve Volunteer

The British Red Cross responds to hundreds of UK emergencies every year – from major floods to house fires and transport accidents.

Our Psychosocial and Mental Health Team provides a range of guidance, professional, and enhanced support to promote wellbeing and manage challenging situations across the organisation.

The Psychosocial and Mental Health team consists of clinicians, therapists, and final year trainee clinical psychologists who support services across the UK with an ever-growing group of volunteer practitioners that empower the British Red Cross to work as a psychosocially-informed organisation.

About this role

The British Red Cross have partnered with the British Psychological Society to recruit clinical and counselling psychologists to join a network of likeminded professionals to work together in the event of a major incident in the UK, or event requiring additional specialist psychosocial personnel to those already recruited by the British Red Cross.

Psychosocial Reserve Volunteers, working alongside and in support of the British Red Cross' existing psychosocial staff and volunteers, will provide support to the British Red Cross' staff and volunteers responding to people in crises, within the initial hours and days following the crisis.

The role is perfect for trained clinical and counselling psychologists who wish to help in an emergency but do not wish to commit to regular volunteering.

Support that the PRVs will provide includes:

  • Consultations and debriefs of British Red Cross personnel who have supported people in crises
  • Joint consultations between the Psychosocial Reserve Volunteers with British Red Cross personnel where there is a concern about an individual or group.
  • Where there has been a large-scale incident requiring the establishment of Humanitarian Assistance Centres or Family and Friends Assistance Centres (or similar) psychosocial reserve volunteers may form part of a team supporting those directly affected by an incident in the days and sometimes weeks that following the incident.

Typical tasks include:

  • Maintaining awareness of any developing psychosocial issues and advising the Bronze Psychosocial or Psychosocial Team Leader.
  • Establishing a relationship with BRC staff and volunteers to support their coping and enable them to feel supported whilst responding to the event/crisis.
  • Establishing a relationship with those who are affected by the crisis and their relatives and friends that will enable problem solving and facilitate coping.
  • Signposting people to relevant services within the UK, including BRC services.
  • Applying professional skills and knowledge as required e.g. providing relevant advice/support/awareness raising sessions for BRC staff and volunteers.
  • Working in partnership with others, including BRC teams and other agencies (as directed by the Psychosocial Bronze/Psychosocial Team Leader) in order to best support the BRC team.
  • Working independently within agreed parameters set by BRC
  • Maintaining confidential records of those people seen by BRC and contributing to the protection of personal details and information, either learned directly from the client or from other sources.

We are looking for someone who:

  • Is over the age of 18.
  • Is willing to uphold the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and adhere to the Society's Equal Opportunities Policy.
  • Lives in the UK.
  • Registered with the Health and Care Professions Council with entitlement to use the title clinical or counselling psychologist.
  • Is in good mental and physical health and able to cope with the demands of crisis situations.
  • This role requires a DBS/PVG check to the appropriate level.
  • Is able to attend a briefing day.
  • Experience of working as a practitioner in the NHS or other relevant field, in an appropriate role.
  • Experience of assessing the psychosocial needs of individuals in a crisis environment.
  • Experience of dealing with people who have experienced bereavement and/or traumatic stress.
  • Extensive experience in providing emotional support including in the early stages following a traumatic event or bereavement.
  • Strong interpersonal skills including tact and diplomacy with the ability to rapidly establish rapport, show empathy and provide emotional support.
  • Ability to work cross culturally/sensitivity to diversity.
  • Experience of delivering support and debriefs to other professionals.
  • Experience of working in emergency response contexts with the flexibility and ability to respond to changing demands.
  • Strong team working skills with the ability to work within a multi-disciplinary team and take direction from the Team Leader.
  • Strong planning/organisational skills; experience in prioritizing and working under pressure with a proactive/solutions focused approach.
  • Experience in keeping and maintaining timely, confidential records.
  • Good written and spoken English (min. Berlitz level 5) and the ability to communicate effectively (verbal and written), presenting information accurately, clearly and concisely.
  • IT literate to intermediate level (MS Word, spreadsheets, e-mail).


Ideally we would like Pyschosocial Reserve Volunteers to be able to respond 1 – 3 days' notice and able to deploy for 6 – 10 hours at a time. You will only be called upon when a large incident occurs in their local area. As a result, you may never be called to deploy or you may be deployed very infrequently. On each occasion you can chose whether to accept or ignore our invitation to help.