Public Health Resources

This installment of the SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series (DBHIS) focuses on public health emergencies, including pandemic influenza, disease outbreaks, and water crises. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a disease outbreak as an increase in cases of a disease that often happens quickly and is above what is normally expected in a group of people in a particular area (http://www.cdc.gov/ophss/csels/dsepd/SS1978/Lesson1/Section11.html). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines a pandemic as a global disease outbreak (http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/about/index.html).

This installment covers these topics:
• Pandemic influenza (flu) planning that includes behavioral health, as well as preparedness and coping information
• Information about outbreaks of infectious diseases other than pandemic flu, including the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in 2014 and 2015
• Water crises, including technological disasters like oil and chemical spills that can cause water crises, and their effects on behavioral health
• Communications to improve public health around a disaster
• General public health emergency preparedness and response

Use the menu bar at left to narrow the results by behavioral health issue or condition, prevention or recovery topic, and more.

Related Resources

Displaying 50 total results.
Globalization and Health

This paper describes research on responses to an Ebola outbreak in Uganda in 2000 and 2001 as reflected in content in Uganda's two main daily English-language newspapers. The researchers found responses and themes including anger, confusion, stigma, and overworked medical staff. [Citation: Kinsman, J. Globalization and Health. 2012; 8(15): 1-12.]

American Psychological Association (APA)

This article describes the rise of "telehealth" for behavioral health needs - remote counseling sessions via technology such as Skype or Facetime. For those who may be in isolation or in quarantine from an Ebola outbreak and experiencing stress as a result, telehealth is a possible solution to maintaining a connection with a behavioral health care provider.

American Psychological Association (APA)

This article offers advice on communicating about Ebola and other public health crises. Not only does it give advice to parents on how to talk with children and teens about the Ebola outbreak, but it also provides detailed information to media and industry leaders who may be called upon to give interviews.

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)

This toolkit provides state and federal officials, as well as emergency and disaster preparedness directors and coordinators, with key emergency response volunteer concepts and key federal and state law regulations about emergency volunteers. The toolkit can be used as a resource for legal counsel regarding the deployment of volunteers during emergencies and for educational, training, and planning activities.

Minnesota Department of Health

On this web page, materials are provided to help behavioral health care providers develop COOP plans for pandemic influenza. A PowerPoint explains the basics of pandemic influenza and the details of planning, and a template can be used to guide providers through consideration of key points and work on critical issues to ensure preparedness for COOP in the event of a pandemic.

The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research

In this article, authors report on data from surveys by SAMHSA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of people affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The surveys looked at mental and substance use disorders, other chronic health conditions, and use of behavioral health (mental health and substance use disorder) services. Authors found only small changes in behavioral health after the spill. They note that they did not look at longer-term effects of the spill or zero in on populations at particular risk and identify some unique characteristics of the response to this disaster that may have improved post-disaster behavioral health outcomes. [Citation: Gould DW, Teich JL, Pemberton MR, Pierannunzi C, Larson S. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research. 2015 January;42(1):622. doi: 10.1007/s11414-014-9441-8.]

SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC)

In this hour-long webcast, health care providers relate lessons learned during a unique situation that arose in Texas during the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015: among people who needed to be placed in quarantine was someone who was homeless. Providers worked to find a quarantine site, stay in contact with him, provide support, and help him prevent his accidental transmission of the disease.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC offers this 1-day training to anyone interested in developing influenza-specific messaging. Tabletop exercises and informative group discussions are part of the curriculum.

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

This is a pocket guide for public officials that provides the basic components of effective communication during a crisis. [HHS Publication No. SMA 02-3641]

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

This website contains many resources about pandemic influenza preparedness that can be applied to Ebola preparedness. It contains a checklist in English and Spanish listing steps community organizations can take to prepare for an outbreak as well as fact sheets about what to expect during pandemic outbreaks.

New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Disaster and Terrorism Branch

In this brief presentation (about 17 minutes), the speaker provides information about common individual and community reactions to public health emergencies, identifies populations whose members may be particularly a risk during public health emergencies, and suggests ways for people to cope.

SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC)

This tip sheet from SAMHSA DTAC identifies signs of stress that are common during infectious disease outbreaks, ways to maintain physical and behavioral health, and signs that you may need help from a behavioral health professional.

New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services

This brochure provides an overview of public health emergencies such as pandemic influenza, a description of the associated emotional challenges, and strategies for coping with anxiety and stress. A Spanish version and related video are also available at http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dmhas/home/disaster/crisis/emotions....

Environmental Health Perspectives

This article presents an in-depth case study of an incident early in 2014 in West Virginia in which chemicals leaked into the Elk River, which provided drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people. The author explains crisis and emergency risk communication, identifies mistakes and successes in West Virginia, notes steps taken in West Virginia to improve preparedness for similar events in the future, and encourages leaders across the country to learn about crisis and emergency risk communication to protect public health in the event of a disaster or other emergency in their own areas. [Citation: Manuel J. Environ Health Perspect. 2014 August;122(8):A215A219. doi: 10.1289/ehp.122-A214.]

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (HHS, ASPR)

This concept of operations plan describes the ideas behind and plan for HHS to support behavioral health-related preparation for, response to, and recovery from disasters and public health emergencies such as outbreaks.

Kane County Mental Health Council

This pamphlet provides mental health information that can help individuals prepare for an influenza pandemic. It provides key points on how to maintain a positive outlook, where to seek reliable information, and where to look for additional mental health help.

World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization (WHO, PAHO)

This 50-page document discusses risk communication in the five phases of a public health emergency: preparedness, emergency onset, containment, recovery, and evaluation.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

On this web page, the EPA provides basic information for Flint, Michigan, residents on safe options for drinking water in light of the discovery in 2015 and 2016 that lead was leaching into the drinking water and that many Flint children had unsafe levels of lead in their blood. The advice is provided on the web page and in fact sheets in English and Spanish. The page also presents an overview of the federal government's response to the crisis in Flint, as well as general information about drinking water, lead, and EPA's part in responding to the crisis in Flint.

SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC)

This tip sheet explains sheltering in place, lists common reactions people have, and suggests ways to cope with the stress that sheltering in place often entails.

Medical and Health Science Journal

In this paper, researchers examine the relationship between stigma and infectious disease and explain the importance of stigma reduction for an effective response to an infectious disease outbreak. They also identify ways to shape policy in the future that may mitigate both social stigma and the impact of infectious disease outbreaks. [Citation: Williams, J., Gonzalez-Medina, D., and Le, Q. Medical and Health Science Journal. 2011; 7: 2-14.]

World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO website provides documents to help guide national and international preparedness and response to pandemics. Also available in Japanese at: http://idsc.nih.go.jp/disease/influenza/05pandemic/f-WHO-Japnese.pdf.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

This online training, developed by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Public Health Preparedness, provides information on how to best share disaster-related information with the public and how people process this type of information.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health Preparedness

Free online courses cover disaster mental health, how disaster mental health is part of overall disaster preparedness, and the mental health effects disasters may have.

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

This fact sheet offers advice to leaders on crafting effective messages around high-stress topics, such as Ebola.

The Dialogue

This issue of The Dialogue, SAMHSA's Disaster Technical Assistance Center quarterly newsletter, features articles about the response to Ebola in Africa, including measures taken to support the resilience of responders during and after their work, as well as the experience of a provider who helped with part of the response to Ebola in Dallas, Texas, when he and others were challenged with supporting the quarantine of an individual who had been exposed to Ebola and was homeless.

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

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress offers guidance on pandemic influenza mental health preparedness and response. The authors list the benefits of using mental health intervention planning tools such as risk and safety communication practices and Psychological First Aid.

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

Through this website, CDC provides links to information and materials about public health preparedness for the public, state and local health officials, emergency managers, and others. Topics include CDC's Emergency Operations Center, emergency preparedness and response, and guidance for state and local health departments.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

At this part of its website, the NCTSN explains how pandemic flu is different from seasonal flu and lists tips for parents and other caregivers to prepare their families for pandemic flu, manage family stress in the event of a flu pandemic, and monitor themselves and their children for signs of the need for professional mental health support.

National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC)

NPHIC offers a database of resources for communication about pandemic influenza. You can search for resources by audience, type of resource, language, and subjects. Resource types include social media, mobile apps, campaign materials, checklists, news, surveys, and toolkits. Audiences include first responders, public health professionals, providers, community-based organizations, mental health organizations, and several populations that may be especially vulnerable in the aftermath of disasters.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services drafted this plan to help medical staff, first responders, and the general public understand the psychosocial aspects of an influenza pandemic. The plan includes tips for coping with emotional stress and strengthening resilience before, during, and after a pandemic.

World Health Organization (WHO)

This guide provides information on risk assessment at the national level in response to an influenza pandemic. The document includes topics on the key principles of risk communication, national pandemic influenza risk assessment, and national pandemic influenza risk management.

Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health

This resource provides information and checklists to help public health and behavioral health personnel support communities during quarantine, isolation, or social distancing. It introduces these measures, identifies their psychosocial effects, covers messaging to promote public well-being and health, and lists ways to reduce risks for public health and behavioral health staff. It was developed in 2010 by the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health, Disaster Planning and Response Program. [Authors: Havice-Cover, P. J., and Drennen, C.]

New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)

The author presents a comprehensive overview of the lessons learned from the global response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the response. The author also presents 15 recommendations developed by the World Health Organization Review Committee to improve response protocols. [Citation: Fineberg, H.V. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014; 370: 1335-1342. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1208802]

Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska

This tip sheet provides information on how communities of faith can prepare for and provide community support during an influenza pandemic.

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)

ASTHO provides links to guides, training, articles, and webinars about various topics in public health preparedness at the state and territorial level.

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

Arizona Department of Health Services

The State of Arizona makes a range of emergency response plans available online, including plans for responding to pandemic influenza, flooding, heat emergencies, wildfires, radiological emergencies, and mass fatalities.

National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

NACCHO provides links to information and resources about advances in public health preparedness, pandemic influenza, public health preparedness law, and radiation preparedness.

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

Ready.gov provides a pandemic checklist with the aim of presenting information on what to do before and during a pandemic outbreak.

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)

Developed for state and territory public health preparedness, this guide covers federal policy, programs and funding, exercises, evaluation, incident management structures such as the National Incident Management System, and conferences and other events related to public health preparedness.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (HHS, ASPR)

This website features information and links to tip sheets, fact sheets, web pages, and videos about avoiding exposure to lead for individuals and families in Flint, Michigan, where in early 2016 an emergency was declared due to high levels of lead found in the drinking water. Materials are in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic.

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

SAMHSA's mobile application helps behavioral health responders provide quality support to survivors. With the SAMHSA Disaster App, responders can prepare for deployment by preloading useful resources on their mobile devices (e.g., treatment locator information), and then they can share those resources with survivors in the field. The app also provides on-the-ground assistance and post-deployment resources, all from one button on the home screen.

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

This webpage provides numerous checklists for all school levels (from daycare to colleges and universities) on how to prepare for a pandemic, which can be applied to Ebola preparedness efforts. It also provides planning guides for educators and local and state leaders.

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

Through Flu.gov, CDC presents resources to help states, localities, and local entities to plan for pandemic influenza. The section about pandemic flu includes guides, checklists, and sample state plans to help states, counties, cities, and communities, as well as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and correctional facilities, to ensure that they are prepared for pandemic influenza.

SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC)

This SAMHSA DTAC tip sheet identifies common reactions to social distancing, quarantine, and isolation and provides tips for staying healthy.

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

This fact sheet provides parents, caregivers, and teachers with strategies for helping children manage stress during an infectious disease outbreak. It discusses the possible reactions children may be having depending on their age range and gives tips for how adults can provide support to children during an outbreak. It is available in Spanish at https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA14-4886SPANISH/SMA14-4886SPANIS....

New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)

In this article, authors review the health effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in several areas, including mental health. They identify some evidence of heightened distress and increases in mental illness and substance use after the disaster, but they also observe some limitations in the research. They note that some people affected by Deepwater Horizon lived in communities that had been affected by earlier disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, and they discuss how some populations may be affected more severely by emergencies like Deepwater Horizon. [Citation: Goldstein BD, Osofsky HJ, Lichtveld, MY. N Engl J Med 2011; 364:13341348. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1007197.]

New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services

The authors of this PowerPoint presentation share information about the negative effects that a pandemic can have on the mental health of affected community members. The PowerPoint presents information on behavioral and emotional responses, grief and loss, and mental health planning and response.

National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

This blog about public health preparedness features articles, event and training information, and stories about preparedness advances in the field.

Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Connecticut Department of Children and Families

This fact sheet shares tips on reducing stress related to a pending or existing pandemic influenza. It also provides information on the flu, how to plan ahead and what to expect during a pandemic, and how individuals can protect themselves and their families.

Last Updated: 09/13/2016