The American Red Cross is asking for qualified mental health volunteers willing to serve for a week or two in towns and cities across the South that have been ravaged by tornadoes, storms and flooding.

"The devastation and loss from the recent storms is horrific and many people are in need of emotional care," said Steve O'Brien, director of emergency services for the Red Cross's Charleston regional office. "The need for mental health professionals is great, and we're asking those with the skills and flexibility to respond to help us comfort those affected.

Training for selected volunteers is scheduled for Wednesday and Friday in Moncks Corner and in Charleston.

Volunteers must be able to deploy for at least one week, preferably two, after being trained, according to a Red Cross news release. To be eligible as a "Disaster Mental Health" volunteer for either local or national relief operations, an individual must have an active, unencumbered, and unrestricted state license or certification.

Depending upon the volunteer's discipline, other professional requirements may need to be met. Volunteers will also need to complete a criminal background check and a short Red Cross deployment orientation.

Qualified candidates should contact Phil Woody by phone at 764-2323, ext. 365, or by email at