Mental Health Services in Disasters and Major Disruptions
Managing mental health services after disasters is an ongoing task throughout the recovery and restoration process. Find resources about mental health services provided in response to disasters or other major traumas, which often aid in the longer term recovery phase of emergency response. Resources include State and local examples.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Serves as a national resource for developing and disseminating evidence-based interventions, trauma-informed services, and public and professional education on trauma and its effects on children. Find materials to support children and families during natural disasters and situations of school violence.
SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Supports SAMHSA's efforts to prepare States, territories, and local entities to deliver an effective mental health and substance abuse (behavioral health) response during disasters.
An Activity Book for African-American Children: Helping Children Cope With Crisis
National Black Child Development Institute & Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2003)
Identifies strategies to support families coping with crisis as well as everyday hardships, such as crime and poverty.
Children and Disasters
Lipsmeyer & Clark
Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) (2011)
Presents a website with useful links for the whole family that address ways to reduce vulnerability in disasters. EDEN is a collaborative multi-State effort by Extension Services across the country to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters.
Children and Disasters
American Academy of Pediatrics
Provides resources and educational tools and tips for medical professionals, child care providers, and families to prepare for a wide array of natural and other disasters.
Children and Violence: Catastrophic Events
National Center for Children Exposed to Violence
Provides information about the effects catastrophic events can have on children, including statistics, links to relevant websites, and literature for parents, teachers, and professionals.
Coping With Disasters: Tips for Child Welfare Agencies (PDF - 527 KB)
O'Brien & Webster (2006)
Focuses on helping child welfare agencies prepare to manage during crises, stressing the importance of communicating with broader emergency management efforts and the need to support staff.
Disaster Distress Hotline
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Offers 24/7 toll-free crisis support services to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters.
Disasters and Terrorism
American Psychological Association
Provides articles on resilience, anxiety, traumatic stress, and other reactions to disasters and terrorism.
Disaster Mental Health Institute: Educational Materials
University of South Dakota
Provides short booklets designed to help individuals, including children and adolescents, understand and cope with their reactions to various types of disasters.
The Effects of Natural Disasters
National Center for PTSD
Provides a review of the literature on the psychosocial consequences, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), of natural disasters.
Talking to Kids About Disasters
NYU Child Study Center (2009)
Suggests ways parents can explain the effects of natural disasters to children. Guidelines are also offered for mental health professionals and school personnel.
Traumatic Stress/Child Welfare (PDF – 2368 KB)
Focal Point, 21(1), 2007
Presents articles focused on child traumatic stress, particularly as experienced by children involved in the child welfare system, addressing the causes and effects of traumatic stress, evidence-based treatments, and prevention strategies.
State and local examples
County Disaster Mental Health Planning and Response Guide: A Guide for County Directors of Mental Health and Community Services
New York State Office of Mental Health (2005)
Provides an overview of types of training for disaster response team members and other human services workers who are in contact with children in a disaster or emergency.
Disaster Mental Health Intervention Field Guide (PDF - 209 KB)
Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction
Outlines procedures for handling the mental health needs of disaster victims in Indiana.
Promoting the Health and Well-Being of Families During Difficult Times
Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the University of Arizona (2003)
Provides a series of factsheets on supporting families following a disaster. The 10 factsheets discuss general stress and coping skills and ways families can cope with specific stresses often associated with disasters, such as health, financial, family, interpersonal, and psychological stresses.