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 ( The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines a pandemic as a global disease outbreak (

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

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Behavioral health response to Ebola - 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.

Coping with stress during infectious disease outbreaks - 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.

How to cope with sheltering in place - 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.

Lessons learned from the Ebola response - 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.

Taking care of your behavioral health: Tips for social distancing quarantine, and isolation during an infectious disease outbreak - 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.

Talking with children: Tips for caregivers, parents, and teachers during infectious disease outbreaks - 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

Last Updated: 09/13/2016