Disaster-specific Resources

This installment of the SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series (DBHIS) presents information specific to particular kinds of disasters, as well as general preparedness and response information. Topics covered include but are not limited to the following:

  • Information about a range of natural disasters (such as drought, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes) and human-caused disasters (such as mass violence, terrorism, and technological disasters)
  • General disaster preparedness and response

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National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN)

This tip sheet provides prevention, preparedness, and proper conduct guidelines for religious leaders to use during an active shooter crisis. The sheet also includes information on how to help the congregation recover from such an event.


U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

This publication is designed to help community members feel more prepared for active shooter situations. The resource explains strategies for identifying an active shooter, responding when an active shooter is in the area, preparing for and managing an active shooter situation, recognizing potential workplace violence, and managing the consequences of an active shooter situation. Wallet card also available at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/active_shooter_pocket_card.pdf


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

This guide provides in-depth information on specific hazards, including what to do before, during, and after each hazard type.


American Red Cross

This fact sheet provides information on earthquake preparedness, safety during an earthquake, and what to do after an earthquake. It is available in French at https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/atg/PDF_s/Preparedness___Disaster_Recovery/Disaster_Preparedness/Earthquake/Earthquakes_FR_final.pdf. A version in Haitian Creole is also available at https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/atg/PDF_s/Preparedness___Disaster_Recovery/Disaster_Preparedness/Earthquake/HT_Earthquakes_final.pdf.


Environmental Health Perspectives

This article examines the social and psychological consequences of exposure to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. Based on findings from a literature review and consultation with experts, the authors describe the different approaches used by mental health professionals in the former Soviet Union and in the West to classify distress and disorders and design treatment programs. The article also provides recommendations for bridging these gaps.


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.


Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council

This web page addresses some of the mental health issues that were experienced following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill off the coast of Alaska in 1989. The page also offers the DVD training course "Coping with Technological Disasters: Peer Listener Training."


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

The Rural Populations DBHIS installment presents information unique to rural communities that should be considered in the development and implementation of behavioral health preparedness and response plans.


Disaster Response and Resilience Research Group, University of Western Sydney (Australia)

This manual provides a thorough overview of disasters, their mental health impact on society, and how to prepare a disaster behavioral health response.


National Child Traumatic Stress Network, National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCTSN, NCCTS)

This document helps families prepare for a disaster or other emergency. It reviews information families should know before an emergency, such as the location of evacuation routes. It also helps families create an emergency plan and a family communication plan. It is also available in Armenian at https://www.nctsn.org/resources/family-preparedness-thinking-ahead-armenian, Korean at https://www.nctsn.org/resources/family-preparedness-thinking-ahead-korean, Russian at https://www.nctsn.org/resources/family-preparedness-thinking-ahead-russian, Spanish at https://www.nctsn.org/resources/preparacion-familiar-como-tomar-previsiones, and Vietnamese at https://www.nctsn.org/resources/family-preparedness-thinking-ahead-vietn....


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This tip sheet offers ways for children to help themselves and others recover from emotional reactions after a tornado.


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This tip sheet offers children ways to cope with their feelings right after a tornado.


American Psychological Association (APA)

This is an fact sheet designed for mental health professionals who work with older adults to assist in fostering resilience in response to terrorism. [Authors: Zeiss, A. M., Cook, J. M., and Cantor, D. W.]


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This informational packet discusses how to interact with children or teens who have lost a loved one in an earthquake. It includes common reactions, the grieving process, and signs that suggest a youth is having difficulty coping with traumatic grief.


University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Terrorism and Disaster Center

This 9-page fact sheet describes the effects that media coverage of a disaster may have on children and adolescents and presents strategies for parents to manage their children's media exposure and support their children in coping with their emotions. Tips are also provided for parents to help children develop strong coping skills. [Authors: Houston, J. B., Rosenholtz, C. E., and Weisbrod, J. L.]


WBUR's CommonHealth: Reform and Reality

This article discusses how children may react to traumatic events with information specific to the Boston Marathon bombing in this case and what parents and caregivers can do to help them cope with these events.


American Psychological Association (APA)

This tip sheet provides guidance on coping with stress for family and friends of those living in areas affected by an earthquake.


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This fact sheet provides information about the impact of flu on families and the community, as well as guidance in preparing for, coping with the stress of, helping children cope with, coping with grief from loss during, and recovering from pandemic influenza.


American Red Cross

This guide offers information on preparing for a variety of family challenges, from the influenza virus to natural disasters.


American Psychological Association (APA)

This web page explains ways to reduce stress and anxiety about avian flu. Also available in Spanish at http://www.apa.org/centrodeapoyo/gripe-aviar.aspx


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS, CDC)

This online training is designed for public health officials, planners, clinicians, mental health professionals, educators, and others involved in planning for response to mass casualty radiation emergencies. The course defines radiation disasters, describes the role of public health and the public health community, identifies the unique psychological effects of these disasters, and presents skills and techniques for performing psychological first aid. Additional related courses are available at https://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/training.asp.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS, CDC)

This website section includes information that can help emergency services physicians and nurses manage patients and understand and treat injuries after radiation emergencies.


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

This website provides guidance and information for health care providers, primarily physicians, on how to respond to a radiation event. It also offers information for first responders.


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.


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.


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

SAMHSA DTAC supports the efforts of states, territories, tribes, and local entities to be prepared, so they are better able to deliver an effective behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse) response to disasters. SAMHSA DTAC provides guidance pertaining to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program by facilitating information exchange and knowledge brokering by connecting technical assistance requestors to their peers and experts in the field. Last, SAMHSA DTAC has useful print and electronic materials in the Resource Collection about disaster behavioral health preparedness and response.


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)

This two-page handout suggests ways for parents, teachers, and other adults to talk with children about earthquakes and other disasters.


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This fact sheet is designed for parents and contains information on how to talk to children about tsunamis.


American Psychological Association (APA)

This fact sheet for healthcare practitioners contains information relevant after a terrorist incident. It includes self-care tips, pointers for assisting others, and challenges associated with behavioral healthcare work following a terrorist attack.


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (DO NOT USE; USE ENTRY WITH ACRONYM)

This fact sheet explains the reactions children may have after a tornado and what teachers can do to help them recover from such events.


American Red Cross

This guide explains what individuals can do to prepare for an unexpected terrorist attack and reduce the stress in case of such an emergency. Also available in Spanish at https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/atg/PDF_s/Preparedness___Disaster_Recovery/Disaster_Preparedness/Terrorism/TerrorismSp.pdf.


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

The NCTSN describes tornadoes and the effects they commonly have on children and families. This part of the NCTSN's website includes information and links to resources about how parents can help their children to cope with the effects of a tornado, as well as tips for teachers interested in helping their students with coping after a tornado.


U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (DOC, NOAA)

The goal of this part of the Hurricane Preparedness website is to inform the public about tornadoes produced by hurricanes and provide knowledge that can be used to take action. This information can be used to save lives at work, at home, on the road, or on the water.


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)

This office supports the families of those lost and injured in the shooting at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, and any others directly affected by the tragedy. The website includes information on remembrance services, memorial funds, notification resources, counseling resources, and internal review reports.


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

The Rural Populations DBHIS DBHIS installment presents information unique to rural communities that should be considered in the development and implementation of behavioral health preparedness and response plans.

Last Updated: 09/06/2017