Disaster behavioral health response programs can benefit from using print media to advertise program services, provide outreach to disaster survivors, and promote psycho-education. Included below are links to sample brochures, door hangers, flyers, newsletters, tip sheets, wallet cards, and postcards. Examples from the field provide ideas on how other disaster behavioral health response programs have successfully used these tools in the past. Several templates are also provided, which can be downloaded and tailored to meet the needs of virtually any program.
Templates and sample print materials provided below include the following:
Brochures are ideal as handouts to leave with family members to review together. They can be made available at information tables at community events, in clinic waiting rooms, and even by mail. Brochures are small and easy to carry so outreach workers can distribute them while they are traveling to and through disaster-affected sites. The brochure template can be tailored to reflect the details of your disaster response program and includes general psycho-educational tips for coping with stress and dealing with disaster behavioral health needs. You can place your program's contact information and logo on the brochure, either in the document template or on a sticker. The templates in this toolkit address the needs of the general public as well as special populations.
"Do It Yourself" Brochure Templates
These brochure templates provide information about common disaster responses and ways of coping. They are intended for members of the general public who may be experiencing disaster distress. They identify the kinds of responses that are normal and inform people as to what to expect. Your program logo and contact information can be inserted into the brochures.
Recovering from the Emotional Aftermath of a Disaster
- Adults (DOC | 31 KB)
- Older Adults (DOC | 34 KB)
- Parents and Other Caregivers Helping Children (DOC | 33 KB)
Example from the Field:
Louisiana Spirit Brochure
This example was created by the Louisiana Spirit Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP). It describes CCP program services and was designed to be mailed to an individual’s home but can easily be distributed through other modalities. Disaster response programs may edit and adapt this template to describe their program and address the needs of their community.
To download a zip file with this template, click the following link: Louisiana Spirit Brochure Templates (ZIP | 1.2 MB).
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Door hangers are a non-intrusive and effective way to get the message out to your community about a disaster response program as they draw your attention. When outreach workers go canvassing door to door and an occupant is not at home, they can leave a door hanger containing general disaster response program information. Door hangers are also useful to leave at businesses that are temporarily closed due to the disaster.
"Do It Yourself" Door Hanger Templates
These templates address the common signs of disaster stress, ways to reduce stress, and common reactions to trigger events such as the holidays while recovering from a disaster. They can be adapted to include program contact information or a helpline phone number.
- "Signs of Stress" Door Hanger (DOC | 159 KB]
This door hanger template discusses the signs of stress that can be experienced by survivors after a disaster and introduces your program to the community.
- "Tips for Stress Reduction" Door Hanger (DOC | 158 KB)
This door hanger template provides stress reduction strategies that can be used by disaster survivors. It can be personalized to include the contact information for your program or to advertise a meeting or support group.
- "Support for the Holidays" Door Hanger (DOCX | 211 KB)
This door hanger template discusses coping tips for dealing with trigger events like the holidays while recovering from a disaster.
- Blank Door Hanger Template
You can use this blank template to design a door hanger for your program. The format allows you to include your own targeted messages specific to the needs of disaster survivors in your area.
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Flyers can be an eye-catching means to advertise program services, support groups, and disaster response events. Many local businesses and community centers have public bulletin boards where flyers can be posted. The flyer should be "eye catching," and the content should be concise. Be sure to include the name of your program and contact information such as a website, phone number, or address.
"Do It Yourself" Flyer Templates
These flyer templates can be edited and adapted to meet the needs of your disaster response program. Below are flyer templates, one to present general information about your disaster response program and the other to announce support group meetings:
Examples from the Field:
The Louisiana Spirit CCP created a series of flyers, each addressing a different topic, such as managing stress, anger, helping children cope, and caring for neighbors. Many of these examples are in editable formats, so that they can be adapted to meet the needs of your disaster response program.
To download these templates in a zip file, click on this link: Louisiana Spirit Flyer Templates (ZIP | 11 MB)
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Newsletters are an informative way to educate the community and provide periodic updates about a disaster behavioral health response program's services. A newsletter is often longer than a brochure and thus allows disaster response programs to offer more detailed information or share personal stories of survival and community resilience as a way to destigmatize the program services. Including photographs or anecdotes can help readers identify with others having experiences similar to theirs. Programs can disseminate newsletters electronically via e-mail or print them to distribute during meetings or other public events. Individual newsletter articles can also be adapted for broader use with local organizations. For example, they can be included in bulletins for churches and other places of worship, published in newspapers, printed and handed out in schools, and sent to lists of e-mail addresses collected for other purposes. In addition, states and territories may have monthly or quarterly newsletters that can be used to inform their partners about existing CCPs.
"Do It Yourself" Newsletter Templates
These newsletter templates, created by the Louisiana Spirit CCP, provide educational information on stress management, details of program services, and contact information. Included in the zip file are six Microsoft Publisher files that can be easily edited and adapted to meet the needs of your program.
Louisiana Spirit Newsletter Templates (ZIP | 5 MB)
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Disaster behavioral health response programs can use tip sheets to provide survivors with coping information and help readers identify feelings that they may be experiencing as a result of a disaster. Tip sheets list common disaster reactions, coping methods, and ways to assist others having disaster reactions of their own. Tip sheets can also be used to offer preparedness advice relevant to any disaster. They can be developed quickly, easily, and inexpensively, and they can be adapted to a variety of formats.
When creating a tip sheet to help survivors cope with the disaster events, experts offer several recommendations.*
- Use simple, direct language. Invest the time and energy needed to ensure that concepts are worded in a way that makes sense in the local context and can be understood by a 12-year-old member of the affected community. Use colloquial expressions when it is apparent that these terms would make more sense to those within the affected community (e.g., use local terminology for health and mental health concepts or words such as “coping”).
- Focus on priorities identified by communities and keep the message short, focused, and concrete.
- Point out that it is common to experience distress after a stressful event and that people affected by a disaster may notice changes in their feelings, behavior, and thoughts. Emphasize that this is a common and understandable reaction to an abnormal event.
- Emphasize positive coping methods, solution-focused approaches, and positive expectations of recovery, and warn against harmful ways of coping (e.g., heavy alcohol use). Aim to include community, family, and individual coping strategies, including attention to the needs of children.
- State that most people will probably feel better over the coming weeks and months. Suggest that if their distress does not decrease over a period of weeks or if it becomes worse, they should seek help from available community supports or seek professional help (though only include this advice if such help is available). Provide information on how and where people can access these services.
- Ask members of the local community to review any materials developed. Ensure the accuracy of translated materials by conducting ‘back translation,’ which involves having someone from the affected community read the translated material for accuracy.
- Do not use complicated or technical language (e.g., psychological/psychiatric terms).
- Do not include too many messages at one time, as this can confuse or overwhelm people.
- Do not include long lists of psychiatric symptoms in materials for the general population (i.e., materials used outside clinical settings).
- Do not specify a precise timeframe for recovery (e.g., “You will feel better in 3 weeks”), and do not suggest seeking professional help if such help is unavailable.
- Do not literally translate written materials into a language that is not commonly used in a written format. It may be better to find a non-written format (e.g., pictures, drawings, songs, dances, etc.) or to translate the materials into a national written language that is understandable by at least one member of each household.
*Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). (2008). IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (PDF | 816 KB).
"Do It Yourself" Tip Sheet Templates
These templates include coping tips for survivors and can be adapted to include your program logo, contact information, hotline information, and program branding style.
- Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event: Managing Your Stress (DOCX | 53 KB)
This tip sheet outlines the common signs of stress after a disaster and provides stress reduction strategies.
- Anniversary Reactions to a Traumatic Event: The Recovery Process Continues (DOCX | 44 KB)
This tip sheet discusses the common emotions a survivor may feel on or near the anniversary of the disaster or traumatic event.
- Helping Children Cope with Stress (DOCX | 50 KB)
This tip sheet discusses the signs of stress in children and what parents can do to help reduce stress in their children after a disaster or traumatic event.
Examples from the Field:
SAMHSA's Managing Your Stress Tip Sheets
SAMHSA’s website has a number of tip sheets that explain emotional, physical, and behavioral reactions people may have experienced during and after the Gulf Coast Oil Spill and ways they can cope with these reactions. They have been translated into various languages such as Cambodian, Haitian Creole, Lao, Spanish, Vietnamese, and French. You are welcome to adapt the information on these tip sheets for your own use.
Preparedness Fast Facts: Emergency-Specific Preparedness Information
This webpage from the American Red Cross offers a variety of tip sheets containing advice on how to prepare for a disaster or other emergency situations.
For Kids: Tornado Recovery; Making Things Better (PDF | 114 KB)
This tip sheet from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers ways for children to help themselves and others recover from emotional reactions after a tornado.
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Wallet cards are good ways to leave messages of resilience and recovery with survivors that they can take with them. They can be used to highlight emotional reactions to disaster and ways to cope with these reactions. Wallet cards can include helpline phone numbers and program contact information. They are one of the ways to remind survivors that they are not alone in their recovery. These cards tend to be popular with teens as well as adults and are more convenient to keep handy than brochures or flyers.
"Do It Yourself" Wallet Card Template
This wallet card template includes common disaster reactions and coping tips for survivors. It can be adapted to include your program logo, contact information, and hotline information, and changed to match your program branding.
Examples from the Field:
Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) Wallet Card
The DDH is the first national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. Helpline staff members provide counseling and support, including information on common stress reactions and healthy coping, as well as referrals to local disaster-related resources for followup care and support.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Wallet Card
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. When someone dials 1-800-273-TALK, his or her call is routed to the nearest crisis center. The Lifeline’s national network, consisting of more than 150 local crisis centers, provides crisis counseling and mental health referrals day and night.
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With postcards you can let survivors know about your program, the services provided, and special events in your community. Postcards are also a good way to alert survivors prior to door-to-door canvassing, to build trust during a time when survivors are often wary of strangers in their communities. By sending a postcard prior to arriving in the community, you make survivors aware of the legitimacy of your program.
"Do It Yourself" Postcard Template
This postcard template can be edited to include information about services provided by your outreach program and announce meetings and groups. It can also include messages of support and resiliency. You can adapt this template to include your program logo, contact information, or hotline information, and you can change the picture to match your program branding.
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