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SAMHSA Coping with Violence and Traumatic Events



Disaster Distress Helpline

The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is the nation’s first hotline dedicated to providing disaster crisis counseling. The toll-free Helpline operates 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week. This free, confidential and multilingual, crisis support service is available via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (Text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746) to U.S. residents who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of a natural or man-made disaster, incidents of mass violence or any other disasters. Callers are connected to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling center in the network. The helpline staff provides confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services.

For Students

Disaster Tips Wallet Card: Having Trouble Coping? (English) [PDF | 226 KB] (Español) [PDF | 129 KB]
This wallet card provides a list of warning signs describing when someone might be having trouble coping with a traumatic event. Contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) is provided.

Helping students cope with media coverage of disasters: A fact sheet for teachers and school staff [PDF | 307 KB]
According to this fact sheet, it "provides an overview of how media coverage of a disaster may affect students and suggests strategies that people working in schools can use to address these effects. The strategies described in this fact sheet can be used by teachers, school counselors, school social workers, other school staff members, and school administrators.

It's okay to remember
This video provides information regarding traumatic grief in children, addresses the three main types of trauma reminders, and illustrates how families who experience the pain of loss can heal. It features physicians and experts in the field and is appropriate for parents and others who care for children.

Tips for College Students: In the Wake of Trauma
This tip sheet provides information for college aged students about some of the common reactions to traumatic events and ways to help them cope. It also provides helpful resources and hotline information.

For Parents, Teachers, and Other Caregivers

Tips for Talking with Children

Coping with Crisis—Helping Children With Special Needs Exit Disclaimer Information
This website provides information on how children with learning differences cope with tragedy and grief. The website also provides recommendations on additional considerations to be addressed for children with special needs.

Listen, Protect, Connect – Model and Teach: Psychological First Aid for Teacher and Students [PDF | 1.98MB]
This guidance helps parents to assess a child's firsthand experience of a disaster and describes some common reactions the child may have later. It describes how parents can provide Psychological First Aid by listening, protecting, and connecting. It also provides tips to keep in mind as one helps a child following a disaster.

Parent Tips for Infants and Toddlers [PDF | 302 KB]
This document offers a grid to help parents with infants and toddlers understand how their child may be feeling—it also offers an in-depth list of how parents can help their young children cope with disaster.
English [PDF | 302 KB]
Chinese [PDF | 949 KB]
Japanese [PDF | 24 6KB]
Spanish [PDF | 406 KB]

Parent Tips for Preschoolers [PDF |238 KB]
This document provides information for parents including reactions and/or behavior that may occur after a disaster including suggestions for what to say and do once the disaster is over.
English [PDF | 238 KB]
Chinese [PDF | 625 KB]
Japanese [PDF | 230 KB]
Spanish [PDF | 291 KB]

Parent Tips for School-age Children [PDF | 238 KB]
This document offers information on common reactions after a disaster and how parents can respond to their school-age children.
English [PDF | 238 KB]
Chinese [PDF | 623 KB]
Japanese [PDF | 230 KB]
Spanish [PDF | 292 KB]

Parent Tips for Adolescents [PDF | 237 KB]
This document provides parents with tips for how to respond to their adolescent child after a disaster. The tips include possible reactions, responses, and examples of things to do and say.
English [PDF | 237 KB]
Chinese [PDF | 617 KB]
Japanese [PDF | 290 KB]
Spanish [PDF | 290 KB]

Restoring a Sense of Safety in the Aftermath of a Mass Shooting: Tips for Parents and Professionals [PDF - 102 KB] Exit Disclaimer Information
This tip sheet from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS) includes tips for communicating effectively with children, strategies for safety and planning for future emergencies, and answers to commonly asked questions.

Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers [PDF | 1 MB]
This tip sheet helps parents, caregivers, and teachers to recognize and address stress responses in children and youth affected by traumatic events such as automobile accidents and disasters. It describes stress reactions that are commonly seen in young trauma survivors from various age groups and offers tips on how to help as well as resources.

Tips for Talking to Children: Interventions At Home for Preschoolers to Adolescents [PDF | 263 KB]
This tip sheet provides recommendations to help children share feelings and experiences following exposure to a disaster or traumatic event. Interventions for parents are provided to help them engage with preschoolers, elementary age children, preadolescents and adolescents.

Responding to a School Crisis
This webpage from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides guidelines for responding to a school crisis.  Several tip sheets are provided including tips for talking to children after a shooting, information on age-specific psychological impacts, tips about media coverage, and individualized guidelines for various school personnel.

Tips on Media Coverage

Helping your child cope with media coverage of disasters: A fact sheet for parents [PDF | 554 KB] Exit Disclaimer Information
According to the document, this fact sheet "provides an overview of how media coverage of a disaster may affect your child and suggests strategies that parents can use to address these effects.

Helping students cope with media coverage of disasters: A fact sheet for teachers and school staff [PDF | 620 KB] Exit Disclaimer Information
According to this fact sheet, it "provides an overview of how media coverage of a disaster may affect students and suggests strategies that people working in schools can use to address these effects. The strategies described in this fact sheet can be used by teachers, school counselors, school social workers, other school staff members, and school administrators”.

Tips for Parents on Media Coverage [PDF | 52 KB]
This tip sheet provides information for parents on how to limit a child's exposure to disturbing media images.

Coping with Grief

How to Deal With Grief [PDF | 266 KB]
This fact sheet explains how to deal with grief as a normal response to loss or death. It describes how grief feels, how long it lasts, the four-step grieving process, and how grief differs from depression.

It's okay to remember
This video provides information regarding traumatic grief in children, addresses the three main types of trauma reminders, and illustrates how families can experience the pain of loss and then heal. It features physicians and experts in the field and is appropriate for parents and others who care for children.

Talk, listen, connect: When families grieve Exit Disclaimer Information
This collection of resources addresses the difficult topic of the death of a parent and helps families cope with complex emotions, honor the life of a loved one, and find strength in each other. There are components for military families and nonmilitary families.

Coping with Mass Violence and Shooting

A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope Exit Disclaimer Information
This website provides recommendations for parents and school personnel for helping children cope with a crisis by establishing a sense of safety and security. The website provides suggestions for what adults, parents, and schools can do following a crisis event.

Effects of Traumatic Stress after Mass Violence, Terror, or Disaster
Developed by the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), this publication provides information regarding normal reactions to abnormal situations. It includes descriptions of common traumatic stress reactions, problematic stress responses, and symptoms of PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder.

Helping Your Children Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting Exit Disclaimer Information
This website from the American Psychological Association provides recommendations for parents who may be struggling with how to talk with their children following a shooting. The website provides tips and strategies for helping children manage their distress.

Managing your Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting Exit Disclaimer Information
This website provides common reactions after a shooting, and provides tips to help strengthen your resilience.

Mass disasters, trauma, and loss Exit Disclaimer Information
This brochure explains stress reactions individuals may experience after a disaster, what they can do to recover, and when they should seek professional help.

A Practical Guide for Crisis Response in Our Schools Exit Disclaimer Information
This guide provides information to assist schools in responding effectively to “everyday crises” as well as school-based disasters. The guide offer strategies to potentially prevent violent school-based tragedies, assists educators in identifying students who may be at greatest risk and know when to refer to support staff, reviews protocol for managing crisis situations, and discusses practical strategies for addressing the emergent needs of students during times of crisis.

Restoring a Sense of Safety in the Aftermath of a Mass Shooting: Tips for Parents and Professionals [PDF - 102 KB] Exit Disclaimer Information
This tip sheet from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS) includes tips for communicating effectively with children, strategies for safety and planning for future emergencies, and answers to commonly asked questions.

School crisis guide: Helping and healing in a time of crisis [PDF | 2.26 MB] Exit Disclaimer Information
This guide was developed with essential, to-the-point advice for schools and districts. It is a step-by-step resource created by educators, for educators, to make it easier for school district administrators and principals to keep schools safe, so teachers can teach and children can learn. The guide also suggests ways for state and local associations to lend expertise, saving schools precious time in the midst of a crisis and helping children and staff return to learning.

Coping with Traumatic Stress

Understanding child traumatic stress [PDF | 362 KB]
This document discusses the cognitive response to danger as it relates to traumatic experiences or traumatic stress throughout all developmental stages, particularly in children. It provides an overview of posttraumatic stress responses and their severity and duration, as well as posttraumatic stress after chronic or repeated trauma.

Coping with Stress
This webpage from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides clear concise information on coping with stress related to a traumatic event.

Dealing with the Effects of Trauma: A Self-Help Guide
This SAMHSA guide provides more in-depth information on recovering from a traumatic event and is geared for those whose reactions may be lingering.

Disaster Tips Wallet Card: Having Trouble Coping? (English) [PDF | 226 KB] (Español) [PDF | 129 KB]
This wallet card provides a list of warning signs describing when someone might be having trouble coping with a traumatic event. Contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) is provided.

Responding to Stressful Events: Helping Children Cope [PDF | 74 KB] Exit Disclaimer Information
This packet contains information on helping children cope after a stressful event. It provides information on common reactions and coping techniques.

Responding to a School in Crisis
This guide is a resource for key school personnel responding to school based events.

Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event: Managing Your Stress [PDF | 927 KB]
This tip sheet outlines the common signs of stress after a disaster and provides stress reduction strategies.

Tips for Survivors of Traumatic Events: Self-Care Tips for Dealing with Stress [PDF | 966 KB]
This fact sheet includes care tips for survivors of a traumatic event, what to expect in your personal, family, work, and financial life.

Listen, Protect, and Connect - Family to Family, Neighbor to Neighbor [PDF | 435 KB] Exit Disclaimer Information
This brochure suggests ways to support emotional well-being before, during and after emergencies. They build on ideas, strengths and practices that parents, teachers and schools already use with children, and offer more ideas and tools to call upon in times of traumatic events.

For Responders and Health Professionals

A Guide to Managing Stress in Crisis Response Professions [PDF | 1.3 MB]
This manual aids crisis response workers in stress prevention and management before, during, and after a public health crisis. It describes the stress cycle and common stress reactions and offers tips to promote a positive workplace and to monitor and minimize stress.

Children and Youth—SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series installment
This SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series installment focuses on the reactions and mental health needs of children and youth after a disaster and contains resources from both the child trauma and disaster behavioral health fields. The collection includes an annotated bibliography and a section with helpful links to organizations, agencies, and other resources that address disaster preparedness and response issues surrounding children and youth.

Cultural Awareness: Children and Youth in Disasters Podcast
The goal of this 60-minute podcast is to assist disaster behavioral health responders in providing culturally aware and appropriate disaster behavioral health services for children, youth, and families impacted by natural and human-caused disasters. Featured speakers include April Naturale, Ph.D., of SAMHSA DTAC and Russell T. Jones, Ph.D., of Virginia Tech University.

Guide for Emergency Response and Public Safety Workers: Tips for Managing and Preventing Stress
This fact sheet presents organizational and individual stress prevention and management approaches for disaster response workers.

Helpful Hints for School Emergency Management: Psychological First Aid (PFA) for Students and Teachers: Listen, Protect, Connect – Model & Teach [PDF | 428 KB]
This document explores the goals of the PFA strategy and when and how schools can implement it. It also reviews the type of training school staff members need to effectively use this strategy.

Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism
This manual contains "the basics" of what mental health providers, crime victim assistance professionals, and faith-based counselors need to know to provide appropriate mental health support following incidents involving criminal mass victimization. The manual is primarily for mental health professionals, yet all service providers will find much of the material to be useful.

Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism, A Field Guide
This Field Guide is intended for mental health and disaster workers; first responders; government agency employees; and crime victim assistance, faith-based, healthcare, and other service providers who assist survivors and families during the aftermath of mass violence and terrorism. All who come in contact with victims and families can contribute to restoring their dignity and sense of control by interacting with sensitivity, kindness, and respect. This Field Guide provides the basics of responding to those in crisis.

Field Manual for Mental Health and Human Service Workers in Major Disasters
This Field Manual is intended for mental health workers and other human service providers who assist survivors following a disaster. This pocket reference provides the basics of disaster mental health, with numerous specific and practical suggestions for workers. Essential information about disaster survivors' reactions and needs is included. "Helping" skills are described with guidance for when to refer for professional assistance. Strategies for worker stress prevention and management are presented in the last section.

Psychological First Aid for Schools—Field Operations Guide [PDF | 6.18] Exit Disclaimer Information
This guide provides the details of Psychological First Aid, which is, according to the NCTSN website, "an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families in the aftermath of disaster and terrorism."

Psychosocial Issues For Children And Families In Disasters
This booklet includes resources for people working with children after a disaster. It covers child development theories in relation to how youth respond emotionally to disasters. It also features suggestions, case studies, and a resource guide.

Self-Care for Disaster Behavioral Health Responders Podcast
SAMHSA DTAC recently released a Self-Care for Disaster Behavioral Health Responders Podcast. The goal of this 60-minute podcast is to provide information, best practices, and tools that enable disaster behavioral health (DBH) responders and supervisors to identify and effectively manage stress and secondary traumatic stress through workplace structures and self-care practices. You can read a transcript of the podcast at /dtac/selfcareDBHResponders/selfcareDBHResponders-transcript.pdf [PDF | 141 KB]

Tips for Emergency and Disaster Response Workers: Possible Alcohol and Substance Abuse Indicators
This tip sheet describes indicators or warning signs disaster responders should look for that are often associated with alcohol and drug addiction. These tips will be useful for public safety workers in determining if disaster survivors are in need of referral to behavioral health assistance.

Recommended Websites

SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center
The Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) supports SAMHSA’s efforts to prepare states, territories, and local entities to deliver an effective behavioral health response during disasters. We support collaboration between mental health and substance abuse authorities, federal agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. The SAMHSA DTAC provides consultation to review disaster plans, conducts literature reviews, and brokers knowledge and support.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network Exit Disclaimer Information
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network was established to improve access to care, treatment, and services for traumatized children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events.

Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress Exit Disclaimer Information

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Exit Disclaimer Information

American Academy of Pediatrics Exit Disclaimer Information

American Psychiatric Association Exit Disclaimer Information

American Psychological Association Exit Disclaimer Information

American Red Cross Exit Disclaimer Information

 

Last updated 05/29/2014