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The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Coping with Traumatic Events

Reports to the President

Secretary Leavitt releases Report to the President: Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy

Understanding Mental Illness

Understanding Mental Illness – after the Virginia Tech Tragedy: Resources to help us all become better informed about mental illness.

Information Clearinghouses

SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center

The Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) supports SAMHSA’s efforts to prepare States, Territories, and local entities to deliver an effective behavioral health response during disasters. We support collaboration between mental health and substance abuse authorities, Federal agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. The SAMHSA DTAC provides consultation to review disaster plans, conducts literature reviews, and brokers knowledge and support.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network was established to improve access to care, treatment, and services for traumatized children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events.

For Responders and Health Professionals

Guide for Emergency Response and Public Safety Workers: Tips for Managing and Preventing Stress PDF File Format

Tips for Emergency and Disaster Response Workers: Possible Alcohol and Substance Abuse Indicators PDF File Format

Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism: This manual contains "the basics" of what mental health providers, crime victim assistance professionals, and faith-based counselors need to know to provide appropriate mental health support following incidents involving criminal mass victimization. The manual is primarily for mental health professionals, yet all service providers will find much of the material to be useful.

Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism, A Field Guide: This Field Guide is intended for mental health and disaster workers; first responders; government agency employees; and crime victim assistance, faith-based, healthcare, and other service providers who assist survivors and families during the aftermath of mass violence and terrorism. All who come in contact with victims and families can contribute to restoring their dignity and sense of control by interacting with sensitivity, kindness, and respect. This Field Guide provides the basics of responding to those in crisis.

Field Manual for Mental Health and Human Service Workers in Major Disasters: This Field Manual is intended for mental health workers and other human service providers who assist survivors following a disaster. This pocket reference provides the basics of disaster mental health, with numerous specific and practical suggestions for workers. Essential information about disaster survivors' reactions and needs is included. "Helping" skills are described with guidance for when to refer for professional assistance. Strategies for worker stress prevention and management are presented in the last section.

SAMHSA Fundamentals of Disaster Planning and Response: SAMHSA’s series of Webcasts on disaster planning and response in six topics areas:

  • Key Concepts in Disaster Mental Health
  • Managing Your Stress in Crisis Response Work
  • Psychological First Aid Approaches
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Disasters
  • Child Trauma and Schools: Disaster Response
  • Substance Use Disorders, Trauma, and Post-Traumatic Stress

Psychosocial Issues For Children And Families In Disasters -- A Guide For The Primary Care Physician: The focus of this manual is on how the child health care provider may better prepare, assess, and treat youngsters and their families in the event of a disaster. As a recognized leader in a community, the physician also may be called upon to address community needs in case of such events. This manual also will aid the physician in assuming this role.

For Students

Tips for College Students: In the Wake of Trauma PDF File Format

Half of Us: An interactive Web site striving to decrease stigma around mental health in the college community.

For Schools

Guide for Parents and Educators: Tips for Talking to Children and Youth After Traumatic Events PDF File Format

Tips for Talking to Children: Interventions At Home for Preschoolers to Adolescents PDF File Format

Tips for Talking to Children After a Disaster: A Guide for Parents and Teachers: Children respond to trauma in many different ways. Some may have reactions very soon after the event; others may seem to be doing fine for weeks or months, then begin to show worrisome behavior. Knowing the signs that are common at different ages can help parents and teachers to recognize problems and respond appropriately.

Department of Education Safe & Drug-Free Schools: Guidance for school administrators, publications, organizations that can help, and other general information on keeping schools safe and drug-free.

A Guide for Intermediate and Long-term Mental Health Services After School-related Violent Events: this guide outlines the roles of school-based service providers - including teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, social workers, and school nurses - in responding to the mental health needs of students after school-related violent events.

Youth and School Violence Prevention Resources: Browse more than 50 Federal documents and Web sites covering important issues around youth and school violence prevention. Find out more about violence prevention programs, organizations and agencies supporting prevention, and the reports released by the Federal Government.

For Adults

Tips for Suvivors of a Truamatic Event: Managing Your Stress PDF File Format

Tips for Suvivors of a Traumatic Event: What to Expect in Your Personal, Family, Work and Financial Life PDF File Format

How to Deal With Grief PDF File Format

Disaster Tips Wallet Card: Having Trouble Coping? (English) PDF File Format (Espanol) PDF File Format

After a Disaster: Self-Care Tips for Dealing with Stress: This fact sheet includes care tips for survivors of a traumatic event, what to expect in your personal, family, work, and financial life.

After a Disaster: What Teens Can Do: These tips focus on teens affected by traumatic events.

Anxiety Disorders: How to Deal with Grief: Help and resources for understanding and coping with grief.

Recovering Your Mental Health: Dealing with the Effects of Trauma: A Self Help Guide: a self-help guide for dealing with the effects of trauma.

For Families

Guide for Parents and Educators: Tips for Talking to Children and Youth After Traumatic Events PDF File Format

Tips for Talking to Children: Interventions At Home for Preschoolers to Adolescents PDF File Format

Age-Specific Interventions at Home for Children in Trauma: From Preschool to Adolescence: Children are just as affected as adults are by a disaster or traumatic event. Some may be affected even more, but no one realizes it.

Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents: This fact sheet details the different types and signs of anxiety disorders, including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Helping Children Cope with Fear and Anxiety: Whether tragic events touch your family personally or are brought into your home via newspapers and television, you can help children cope with the anxiety that violence, death, and disasters can cause.

Reaction of Children to a Disaster: Many feelings and reactions are shared by people of all ages in response to a disaster. However, special attention is required to meet the needs of children. This fact sheet explores the typical reactions for children of different age groups.

Major Depression in Children and Adolescents: A fact sheet about depression in children and adolescents.