Acute Interventions

This installment of the SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series (DBHIS) focuses on interventions, or strategies and approaches to provide behavioral health support, for people in the first 14 days after a disaster. Topics covered include but are not limited to the following:

  • Acute interventions and intervention models, such as Psychological First Aid, Critical Incident Stress Management, and Community Emergency Response Teams
  • International acute intervention models
  • Post-acute intervention models

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Displaying 78 total results.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

This report outlines a national strategy to guide suicide prevention actions. It includes goals and objectives across four strategic directions: (1) wellness and empowerment, (2) prevention services, (3) treatment and support services, and (4) surveillance, research, and evaluation.

International Critical Incident Stress Foundation

This primer provides an overview of CISM as a comprehensive, integrative, multicomponent crisis intervention system to use in a wide variety of community and occupational settings. The document briefly describes the seven core components of CISM and emphasizes the importance of using multiple interventions within the CISM framework.

International Journal of Emergency Mental Health

This article examines the effect of brief crisis interventions, including critical incident stress management, following the World Trade Center disaster. [Authors: Boscarino, J., Adams, R. and Figley, C.]

Mental Health First Aid USA

This website provides information on Mental Health First Aid, including how to become certified by taking the interactive 12-hour course.

American Association of Suicidology (AAS)

The American Association of Suicidology promotes suicide prevention and intervention research, public awareness programs, public education, and training for professionals, volunteers, and suicide survivors. This website offers an online directory of suicide survivor support groups.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

This website offers an online directory of suicide survivor support groups. AFSP has partnered with the National Institute of Mental Health to participate in a workshop addressing research on survivors of suicide, including the role of first responders in working with survivors.

PTSD Research Quarterly

This online article describes acute stress disorder (ASD), how it differs from PTSD, and how common it can be following exposure to trauma. The article also discusses how ASD is diagnosed and several effective treatments that are currently available.

LivingWorks Education

ASIST is a 2-day training program that teaches participants how to assist those at risk for suicide.

Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention

This paper describes the Assessment, Crisis Intervention, and Trauma Treatment model, which integrates various assessment and triage protocols with the seven-stage crisis intervention model, and the ten-step acute traumatic stress management protocol. [Author: Roberts, A. R.]

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (USUHS, CSTS)

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress is dedicated to advancing trauma-informed knowledge, leadership, and methodologies. The Center's work addresses a wide scope of trauma exposure from the consequences of combat, operations other than war, terrorism, natural and human-caused disasters, and public health threats.

Citizen Corps (FEMA)

The mission of Citizen Corps, according to its website, is to harness the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS)

This treatment manual for clinicians uses cognitive behavioral therapy for acute stress disorder.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD (VA, PTSD)

This web page provides information on Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD. How CPT is administered is discussed, as well as the primary goals of the therapy and its effectiveness.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

This website provides an overview of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program and a searchable database to find local CERT programs. Recognizing the importance of preparing citizens, the Federal Emergency Management Agency partnered with the National Fire Academy to expand the CERT materials and made them applicable to all hazards.

Medical University of South Carolina

CPT Web is an online course on Cognitive Processing Therapy for Veteran/Military Populations (CPT). Although the course emphasizes how CPT may be used to help people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to military and combat experiences, it can be used to help people with PTSD associated with any trauma. The course includes online information, video demonstrations, clinical scripts, and common clinical challenges and ways to address them

Medical University of South Carolina

CTG Web is a follow-up training course to TF-CBT web that teaches therapists how to apply TF-CBT to cases of child traumatic grief. The course also includes streaming video demonstrations, clinical scripts, cultural considerations, clinical challenges and other learning resources related to TF-CBT and tailored for childhood traumatic grief.

National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF)

This online course prepares first responders to use a set of principles and actions to meet the needs and promote the resilience of those they assist, including survivors of natural and human-caused disasters. The course includes video, a quiz, and a student manual. [Authors: Gist, R., Watson, P., Taylor, V., and Elvander, E.]

Psychological Science in the Public Interest

This review article discusses the evidence for the effectiveness of psychological interventions within the first month following any type of traumatic event. [Authors: McNally, R. J., Bryant, R. A., Ehlers, A.]

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

FEMA is the U.S. Government's principal agency charged with building and supporting the Nation's emergency management system.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

FEMA offers free independent study courses that can be completed for continuing education units. Courses cover topics such as emergency preparedness, developing and managing volunteers, and the Incident Command System.

Psychiatry Online

This article, written by 20 international experts in the fields of disaster and traumatic stress intervention, delineates five empirically supported intervention principles to be used in situations of both disaster and ongoing mass violence. These principles, incorporated into a number of disaster response initiatives, are: (1) promoting a sense of safety, (2) promoting calming, (3) promoting a sense of self- and community-efficacy, (4) promoting connectedness, and (5) instilling hope. [Authors: Hobfoll, S. E., Watson, P. J., Bell, C. C., Bryant, R. A., Brymer, M. J., Friedman, M. J., et al.]

Governing the States and Localities

This article discusses the increase in state and local government support for mental health first aid and suggests training employees to be instructors as a cost-effective way to train an agency.

World Psychiatry

This article provides a review and summary of four areas of grief that are important for psychiatrists: (1) uncomplicated (normal) grief, (2) complicated grief, (3) grief-related major depression, and (4) psychiatrist reactions to patient suicides. [Authors: Zisook, S., and Shear, K.]

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS)

The goal of this paper is to develop consensus-based guidelines for training in mental health and psychosocial interventions for trauma-exposed populations in the international arena.

Medical University of South Carolina

Helping Heroes is a web-based training course divided into 10 training modules of cognitive behavioral treatment for providers who serve firefighters, first responder populations, and their families. The training provides evidence-based techniques tailored to the issues that fire service and first responder personnel regularly experience. The course includes tailored guidance on treatment of occupational stress, anxiety, and depression in first responder populations.

Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)

These guidelines enable humanitarian actors to plan, establish and coordinate a set of minimum multi-sectoral responses to protect and improve people's mental health and psychosocial well-being in the midst of an emergency.

International Critical Incident Stress Foundation

The mission of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, according to its website, is to provide leadership, education, training, consultation, and support services in comprehensive crisis intervention and disaster behavioral health services to the emergency response professions, other organizations, and communities worldwide.

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS)

ISTSS promotes advancement and exchange of knowledge about severe stress and trauma. This knowledge includes understanding the scope and consequences of traumatic exposure, preventing traumatic events and ameliorating their consequences, and advocating for the field of traumatic stress.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program provides a general overview of disaster preparedness and weapons of mass destruction. This online training is the first step for individuals who are interested in being involved in disaster preparedness and response. The website notes that in order to become a volunteer, individuals must also complete a classroom training offered by a local government agency.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The Johns Hopkins Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center has developed a variety of mental health preparedness trainings that are available online.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Ready.gov

This document was created for parents and other caregivers to help them understand what their child may go through after a disaster, and it offers ways to help children following disasters. Basics are taught, and space is provided to write down a child's answers to questions and behavior, as well as to come up with ways to support a child in feeling better and coping. [Authors: Schreiber, M., and Gurwitch, R.]

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health (HHS, NIH, NIMH)

This guidance document is based on an international expert consensus workshop that yielded guidelines for immediate, intermediate, and long-term response following disasters and mass violence.

Mental Health First Aid USA

This website provides information on Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), including what it is, the research and evidence for MHFA, its impact, and information on how to become certified.

Mental Health First Aid USA

The Mental Health First Aid program, according to its website, risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone both in crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.

Mental Health First Aid

A comprehensive compilation of mental health first aid guidelines, including tips for helping adults and children through a disaster or traumatic event.

State of Missouri

Developed by the Missouri Department of Mental Health, this presentation discusses mental health first aid and its history.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD (VA, PTSD)

Compatible with iOS and Android devices, this mobile app is designed to support disaster responders in providing Psychological First Aid (PFA) in the field. The app features reviews of PFA guidelines, tips on providing PFA, and tools for tracking the needs of survivors.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD (VA, PTSD)

The PTSD Coach app can be used by individuals who believe they may be suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as their families. It provides users with resources they can trust, including PTSD treatments that work. Features also include tools for tracking symptoms, tools for handling stress, and direct links to support and help.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD (VA, PTSD)

This website is an educational resource that provides information about trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for a variety of audiences, including disaster responders. It contains the current edition of the Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide, an essential tool for helping disaster survivors (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/type/psych_firstaid_manual.asp); resources for responding to disasters; and responder stress management information.

National Council for Behavioral Health

The mission of the National Council for Behavioral Health is to champion opportunities that advance their members' ability to deliver proactive and holistic healthcare services.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is available 24 hours a day and is a toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Calls are directed to the nearest crisis center in a network of more than 150 centers.

SAMHSA National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL)

This wallet card lists the warning signs of suicide and urges those who exhibit any of the signs to contact a mental health professional or call the suicide prevention hotline.

American Psychologist

This article reviews advances that have been made in research and experience after 9/11 that have led to the development of evidence-based and evidence-informed guidelines and strategies to support the design and implementation of public mental health programs after terrorism and disaster. [Authors: Watson, P.J., Brymer, M. J., and Bonanno, G. A.]

World Health Organization (WHO)

This paper is a guide for counselors seeking education in suicide prevention.

World Health Organization (WHO)

This paper provides suicide facts and figures, information on the role of first responders in suicide prevention, and information on helping someone who is suicidal.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)

This toolkit is intended to help high schools and school districts design and implement strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health. The resource includes tools to implement a multifaceted suicide prevention program that responds to the needs and cultures of students.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD (VA, PTSD)

This webpage provides information on Prolonged Exposure therapy, which is a model designed to decrease distress from trauma.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Mental Health Disaster Preparedness and Response

This tip sheet provides information on how to apply PFA during and in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

The Cochrane Library

This paper offers a statistical review of CISM [critical incident stress management] as an integrated multicomponent crisis intervention system. [Authors: Rose, S.C., Bisson, J., Churchchill, R., and Wessely, S.]

U.S. Department of Education, Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center (ED, REMS Technical Assistance Center)

This publication reports on the Listen, Protect, ConnectModel and Teach strategy, an adaptation of PFA for schools by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. PFA is an evidence-informed, modular approach anyone can use to assist disaster survivors in meeting their needs and accessing resilience. The publication also reviews the type of training school staff members need to use PFA effectively.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD (VA, PTSD)

This guide provides the details of the psychological first aid model, which uses an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families in the aftermath of disaster and terrorism.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This adaptation of the guide gives community religious professionals an introduction and overview to PFA, described as an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families in the aftermath of disaster and terrorism. The manual also provides information on core actions of PFA that community religious professionals can use following a disaster.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

The National Medical Reserve Corps Mental Health Work Group recommends PFA as a standard model of mental health intervention in early response to disasters and other traumatic events.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This guide provides an adaptation of the psychological first aid model that shelter providers can use when working with families experiencing homelessness.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)

This pamphlet provides a brief explanation of Psychological First Aid for first responders and information for working in the field.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This 79-page guide provides information on PFS-S, an adaptation of the PFA evidence-based intervention for school personnel. It provides information on how to use PFA-S to support child and adolescent students, adults, and families in the aftermath of a school crisis, disaster, or terrorism event. [Authors: Brymer, M., Taylor, M., Escudero, P., Jacobs, A., Kronenberg, M., Macy, R., Mock, L., Payne, L., Pynoos, R., and Vogel, J.]

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This adaptation of the psychological first aid model is designed to be used when working with youth who are experiencing homelessness. The guide provides a framework and a model for direct care staff working in drop-in centers, emergency and transitional shelters, and group homes so they can better understand and address the needs of homeless youth who are often impacted by trauma.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

Psychological First Aid (PFA) online is an interactive course in which the participant learns about PFA by taking on the role of a provider after a disaster. The course includes expert tips, videos, activities, and access to an online learning community.

American Health Care Association

This guide was adapted for nursing homes from the Psychological First Aid Field (PFA) Operations Guide (2nd edition). The resource also includes special adaptations and instructions for working with older adults after disasters. [Authors: Brown, L. M., and Hyer, K.]

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (USUHS, CSTS)

This brief tip sheet provides an overview of Psychological First Aid (PFA), an approach to assisting disaster survivors in meeting their needs. It presents key principles of PFA and then lists dos and don'ts in keeping with the approach to help survivors to reconnect with important people in their lives, activate their resilience, and move toward greater adjustment and well-being after a disaster. Also available in Chinese at https://www.cstsonline.org/resources/resource-master-list/psychological-....

QPR Institute

QPR is a suicide prevention training for participants to be able to recognize the warning signs of suicide and question, persuade, and refer people at risk for suicide for help.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)

The Disaster Distress Helpline is the nation's first hotline dedicated to providing disaster crisis counseling. The toll-free helpline operates 24 hours a day, 7 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 human-caused disaster. The helpline's website provides information on disaster distress in addition to a brochure and wallet card.

Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

This article assesses the effectiveness of school-based interventions in children exposed to trauma through violence. [Authors: Tol, W. A., Komproe, I. H., Susanty, D., Jordans, M., Macy, R., and De Jong, J.]

Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health

Based on the Skills for Psychological Recovery Field Operations Guide, this brochure provides a quick guide to the components of skills for psychological recovery.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)

Established by Congress in 1992 and part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA is charged with reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness in the United States.

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)

The mission of SAVE is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, and to serve as a resource to those touched by suicide.

SAMHSA; Others

Offers technical assistance, training and materials to increase the knowledge and expertise of suicide prevention practitioners and other professionals serving people at risk for suicide. Resources include information on school-based prevention programs, a best practices registry, and state information.

SAMHSA; Others

This website provides links to information on suicide prevention that is tailored for specific settings, such as the workplace, faith communities, schools, colleges and universities, law enforcement, first responders, and foster care. Each link goes to a page offering guidance and resources for a specific setting.

Medical University of South Carolina

TF-CBT Consult is an online tool that gives automated clinical consultation to therapists using TF-CBT. The consultation includes text answers, video explanations, clinical demonstrations, and dialogues.

Medical University of South Carolina

TF-CBT Web is a web-based training course for learning Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. It includes streaming video demonstrations, clinical scripts, cultural considerations, clinical challenges and other learning resources related to TF-CBT.

The European Network for Traumatic Stress (TENTS)

These post-disaster guidelines were developed by a review and international expert consensus process. They provide guidance about the provision of psychosocial care following disasters and mass violence, including planning, preparation and management; general components; and specific components to be covered at particular phases of the response.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): National Therapist Certification Program

This web page provides a summary of TF-CBT and includes reviews of relevant research findings on this model, which is used with children who have experienced a wide array of types of trauma. The page features a link to an online course on TF-CBT at http://tfcbt.musc.edu. An advanced clinical degree is required to access the course content.

American Journal of Psychiatry

This article reviews the use of cognitive behavior therapy in treating trauma survivors at risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder. [Authors: Bryant, R. A., Sackville, T., Dang, S. T., Moulds, M., and Guthrie, R.]

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS)

This webpage provides a summary of TF-CBT and includes reviews of relevant research findings on this model, which is used with children who have experienced a wide array of trauma.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD (VA, PTSD)

This article reviews different debriefings, including critical incident stress management, and evaluates research findings related to the model.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

HHS is the U.S. Government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. WHO is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, and monitoring and assessing health trends.

Light for Life Foundation International

Yellow Ribbon provides trainings in suicide prevention, and collaborates with community support networks to reduce the stigma of suicide.

Last Updated: 10/23/2019