Disaster Mental Health
This page contains most all disaster-related links and materials available at this site. Here, you'll find mental health handouts as well as links to external disaster web sites, disaster mental health guides, and other informative materials useful in assisting disaster victims. The focus of this page is less on the most recent specific disaster, and more on generally useful information and links that may be useful in a variety of disasters.
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Fragments Impact Jupiter
Some disaster victims do need additional attention from a professional therapist, but most will not. Much of the initial mental health disaster response involves two primary goals:
(1) normalizing feelings: reassuring victims that the strange and upsetting feelings they experience after a disaster (as following other traumatizing experiences) are normal -- given what happened -- and (2) helping victms find effective ways of coping with any ongoing stress.
I hope the following handouts will assist in this educational process. At least, on Earth...
The first fourteen information sheets below were collected during my previous experience in disaster mental health assistance, and from generous colleagues. Many of these handouts came to me during the Northridge California earthquake in early 1994. For this listing, I selected handouts that seem broadly useful and generic across disaster type.
As far as I know, none of the 14 internal documents in this section are under copyright. They may be used in the service of mental health disaster assistance provided authorship credit is given (where known), and no fee is charged to any recipients. For that purpose, please feel free to download any sheets that appear useful. You should be able to save or capture individual files to disk, but just how you do this depends some on your browser. Or, you can download the entire set in zipped text format. Following these internal documents, you will find additional disaster materials residing external to this site. Please follow the copyright and usage guidelines as posted on these files by their authors.
Photo: Thomas Franklin
A separate section lists links to web sites focused on disasters and disaster responses, including current disasters. These sites are copyright by their authors, of course. Please also have a look at the general support information and web links on separate pages. For example, many links on the Supportive Information page, as well as several sites on the Resources page or other sections, have information particularly relevant for trauma victims and disaster workers.
Feel free to email your comments or suggestions. I would particularly appreciate hearing from anyone with additional materials to contribute to this collection, or from anyone knowing of any documents that should be removed from this site. Enjoy!
Disaster Mental Health Handouts
The following cache of 14 disaster handouts residing at this site is categorized into material for Adult Victims, Families & Child Victims, and Disaster Workers & their Families.
Two separate sections of external disaster materials follows these 14 handouts: The first, added following the September 2001 terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and the Pentagon, focuses primarily on terrorist attacks. The second section of external disaster materials focuses more generally on disasters. All may be useful, since all address emotional and mental health issues commonly faced by disaster victims.
- Victim Emotional Health
- Emotional health issues for victims, from the American Red Cross.
- Warning Signs
- Warning signs of trauma-related stress, from the American Psychological Association.
- Critical Incident
- Critical incident stress information sheet, from Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
- Normalizing Emotions
- You are not alone! description of normal emotions following a disaster, from the American Red Cross.
- Building Safety
- Reducing fear about building safety, by Dan Friedman, American Society of Home Inspectors.
- Coping Suggestions
- Coping suggestions, from Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
- Steps to Take
- After a disaster: Steps you can take, from Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
Families and Child Victims
- Family Coping
- Coping suggestions for families, from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
- Helping Children after a Disaster
- Child behaviors to watch and suggestions to help, by the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
- Helping Children Cope
- Helping children cope with disaster, from FEMA and the American Red Cross.
- Children's Reactions
- Children's reactions to disaster; author unknown.
- Talking with Children about the Bombing
- Suggestions for parents or other adults about what to tell children about terrorist bombings, by Eitan Schwartz MD.
Disaster Workers and Their Families
- Worker's Emotional Health
- Emotional health issues for disaster workers, from the American Red Cross.
- Worker Family's Emotional Health
- Emotional health issues for families of disaster workers, from the American Red Cross.
Additional (External) Disaster Materials for Adults, Children, and Families
- Emergency Preparedness: Disaster Mental Health Resources
- A collection of disaster mental health resources from the CDC, covering: coping with disaster, children & teens, and for responders.
- Red Cross PDF on Specific
Types of Emergencies
- Information page on several specific sorts of emergencies, from the American Red Cross (and affiliated agencies).
- Disease Prevention Pamphlet
- Disease prevention information -- with images -- for tsunami disaster victims (in PDF format)
- Disease Prevention Information
- Disease prevention pamphlet -- primarily a table -- for tsunami relief workers (in PDF format).
- Tsunami Psychological Help
- Dr Martin Winkler's comments regarding providing psychological help to victims of the recent Tsunami disaster, with links to other resources.
- Coping with Disasters
- MedlinePlus: a list of news releases, divided into categories -- latest news; overviews; children, teenagers, seniors, etc.
- Disaster Help for Parents and Children
- The Child Advocate site's collection of links re: disaster and trauma intervention; a starting point for helping children.
- Understanding & Coping with Traumatic Stress
- Headington Institute's modular self-study guide covers stress & humanitarian work, PTSD, and includes a self-test.
- A survivor-helping-survivor message site, not a professional mental health services site.
Additional (External) Disaster Materials focused on Terrorist Attacks
- Helping America Cope
- A ~40 page PDF file, by Annette La Greca, focuses on coping with 911 attacks & anniverary reactions to these events.
- Recovery 911: World Trade Center Trauma
- Ed Schmookler's online book focuses on creating security amidst terror; guidelines for coping with PTSD from this attack.
- Coping with Sept. 11 Attacks -- For Sexual Abuse Survivors & People with Mental Health Problems
- Brief article by Kali Munro explores parallels between attacks and child sexual abuse; gives suggestions for how to cope.
- Terrorism: Trauma, Grief, and Recovery
- Kathleen Nader's article, written after the 11 September attacks, addresses psychological first aid, recognizing vulnerability, etc.
Disaster Mental Health Guides
This section of links focuses on disaster mental health (DMH) guides that may be useful for emergency workers working with individuals in disaster situations. DMH guides focus on mental health issues pertinent in disaster situations, but may also be useful in working with any individual in crisis.
A separate section of links collects PTSD treatment guidelines (for PTSD, acute stress, and dissociative disorders). While the PTSD treatment guides may be of primary interest to clinicians working with traumatic stress disorders, they can be helpful for some individuals in disaster areas as well. Therefore, the PTSD treatment guides page is the first link in this section.
- PTSD Treatment Guides
- Collected treatment guidelines, for Acute Stress Disorder, PTSD & Dissociation - may be relevant in disaster mental health situations.
- Trauma Treatment Manual (English)
- Ed Schmookler's excellent treatment manual, initially written for
Bosnia, applies to most disasters.
- School Disaster: Planning & Initial Interventions
- Article by Kathi Nader and Robert Pynoos covers interventions for children, parents and staff.
- Eye of the Storm: Disaster Mental Health
- Extensive information about disaster mental health, written by John D. Weaver.
- Key Concepts of Disaster Mental Health
- Full text of the first chapter from a disaster response handbook, written by Diane Myers.
- Victims of Disasters: Helping People Recover
- Dr Parson's article on helping affected people recover from acute distress to healing and integration following a disaster.
This section contains many links to disaster-related sites. Links concerning general disaster response are organized by scope or focus. Other links providing information about finding current or recent disasters follow them. [Please check the Site Map to locate additional links available at this site.]
General Disaster Sites
Many organizations offer relief information and assistance to victims of trauma in disasters. Here are some links to the information available, separated into subsections by their predominant focus or scope (e.g., global, US, and foreign).
Global (Planetary) Disaster Monitoring and Relief
- Space Weather
- Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment, including sun spots & asteroids.
- Global Warming Web Site
- EPA's global warming site offers information about science and impacts, quick facts, and links to similar sites.
- El NiOo
- This site monitors the El NiOo-Southern Oscillation, with monthly ocean temperature forecasts.
- NOAA's El NiOo Page
- NOAA's website on El NiOo includes basic information, current forecasts, and extensive data.
Disaster Agencies and Associations in the United States
- American Red Cross
- The home page of the American Red Cross.
- FEMA's home page
- The home page of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- Medical Reserve Corps
- US medical teams (some include mental health professionals) serve local communities & improve emergency preparedness.
- Pacific Disaster Center
- The PDC provides applied information for disaster management in Asia nad the Pacific region.
- Natural Hazards Center Home Page
- Information about human adaptation to disasters, from the Natural Hazards Center at U. Colorado, Boulder.
- Disaster Mental Health International
- Bruce Young's DMHI offers Emergency Mental Health Preparedness and Response Training Programs.
- K-9 Disaster Relief
- K-9 Mental Health Therapy provides comfort for victims and victim families, in conjunction with other trained professionals.
- ICES Disaster Resources
- Illinois Cooperative Extension Service excellent site includes a disaster guide and preparedness information.
International Disaster Agencies or Sites
- International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent
- Home page of the International Federation, with many links to European and other sites outside the US.
- International Committee of the Red Cross
- Home page of the International Committee of the Red Cross, with its own unique set of links.
- Relief Web
- ReliefWeb is a UN-sponsored project to serve the information needs of the humanitarian relief community.
- The Aberfan Disaster
- Historical and political analyses of the 1966 man-made disaster at Aberfan, in South Wales.
- Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency
- CDERA's web site lists interesting links, as well as membership information and a calendar of events.
Preparation & Disaster Planning
- From Dept. of Homeland Security, this website encourages us to assemble a supply kit, a family plan, and to be informed.
- Preparing for the Psychological Consequences of Terrorism
- Online book (in PDF format) presents a public health strategy preparing for psychological consequences of terrorist attacks.
- The Sphere Handbook
- The Sphere (online) Handbook, a project of WHO, aims to improve the quality of assistance given to people affected by disasters.
- ALNAP: Active Learning Network for Accountability & Performance
- ALNAP works to improve learning and quality across the Humanitarian Sector: site has an Evaluative Reports Database.
- Contingency Planning and Disaster Recovery
- Web collection of plans for various kinds of disasters, such as earthquakes or tsunamis, and related information.
- Emergency Preparedness Information Center
- This Seattle commercial page gives detailed information about preparing for a disaster, and offers related products.
Medical & Mental Health Education
Sphere Handbook: Health Services
- Chapter 4 of the online Sphere Handbook sets minimum standards, indicators, & guidance for providing health services in disasters.
- Green Cross Foundation
- Home page of trauma therapists who volunteer to assist disaster victims and those who support them.
- Disaster Mental Health Institute
- DMHI at University of South Dakota offers training in disaster mental health topics.
- An Evaluation of Humour in Emergency Work
- Article identifies humor as a coping strategy contributing to emergency workers' adjustment to difficult situations.
- Victoria State Emergency Service
- Website of a large Australian emergency service organization, in the state of Victoria
Business Continuity after a Disaster
- Disaster Recovery Community Forum
- Disaster Recovery Community Forum offers interactive information for those with responsibility for disaster recovery planning.
- Disaster Recovery Plan Template
- MS-Word template for business continuity following disaster; Sarbanes-Oxley & HIPAA compliant.
- Disaster Resource Guide
- Online information includes aritcles and other resources to facilitate business continuity after a disaster.
- Disaster Recovery Journal
- Articles, products, subscription information, and links to other sites specializing in disaster contingency planning.
- This web site is focused on news and views relating to risk assessment and risk management.
- Global Continuity
- "A global portal for business continuity management" -- extensive site has news and services.
- Rothstein Catalog on Disaster Recovery
- Online catalog of videos and other products of particular interest to the disaster recovery industry.
- PASE Inc.
- PASE offers products, training and consulting for post-disaster business continuity.
Current Disasters: Natural or Man-Made
A collection of links to updated information about current disaster(s), followed by sites concentrating on specific recent disasters. These links are updated periodically. Links in this section focus on breaking news and current disasters:
News Media Sites
- Google News
- Google compiles information on breaking news events, using ~4500 continuously updated news sources.
- CNN Interactive News
- Current, up-to-the-minute news coverage of breaking stories. Updated
- ABC News Online
- Current "live" news available online, including hourly updates from ABC News Radio.
- National Public Radio
- NPR website; NPR has won every major award in journalism for news and cultural programming in America.
- New York Times on the Web
- The NYTimes online edition includes a local search engine.
- Washington Post
- The Washington Post's online edition.
- Los Angeles Times
- The LA Times newspaper online: search engine allows easy access to all current information.
- The London Times
- The Times of London newspaper website -- authoritative, searchable and current information.
- The Australian
- The Australian, a major national newspaper in Australia.
- The British Broadcasting Corporation website.
- Reuters news service website.
- The Hindu
- Online edition of India's national newspaper.
- Independent Media Center
- Indymedia is a collective of independent media organizations & journalists, offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage.
- Al Jazeera
- English-language website of the Al Jazeera Television & Middle East News.
- Palestine News Agency
- Perspective of the Palestine News Agency (in English) on current events affecting the middle east.
- NewsMax.Com: America's News Page
- A current collection of topical news stories from various sources.
Current Disaster Sites
- Internet Disaster Information Center
- This site lists current and archived disaster-related information by category: earthquakes, fires, terrorism, etc.
NOAA National Weather Srvice
- US National Weather Service site shows live images and active warnings of weather disasters.
- Aviation Safety Network
- Detailed and current information regarding aviation safety, air crashes, fatal accidents, etc.
- National Transportation Safety Board
- The NTSB website may contain information about aviation or other transportation disasters.
- AirSafe's useful information for travelers will include current information about recent air crashes.
- Emergency Email & Wireless Network
- Provides secure and expedient notification of emergencies -- locally to internationally.
Specific Natural Disasters
A changing collection of sites with information about current or recent natural disaster(s). These links are updated periodically.
Natural Disasters: Tsunamis
- Google News on Asian Tsunami
- Current news about the Asian Tsunami disaster, from various sources -- compiled by Google News.
- Information on the Great Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami
- Current information on the Great Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami, from the Pacific Disaster Center: includes damage maps.
- 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake
- General information on the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, from Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.
- Website from Geophysics Department at University of Washington:
detailed information on Tsunamis, past and present.
Natural Disasters: Earthquakes
- USGS Earthquake Information Page
- Worldwide earthquake information from the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park CA, including seismic maps.
Natural Disasters: Volcanos
- Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam (Washington State, USA)
- Automatically updating image of Mt St Helens from the Johnston Ridge Observatory, looking SSE about 5 miles from the volcano.
- Cascades Volcano Observatory
- Extensive information about volcanos in the Cascade range of Washington and Oregon, and related links.
Natural Disasters: Floods
- The Fargo Flood
- Excellent site on midwest flooding, by a team of volunteer faculty & students at North Dakota State University.
- Willamette Valley Flood of 1996
- Information (river levels, comparison to 1964, higher earthquake risk, etc.) concerning our local disaster. Great images.
Natural Disasters: Storms
- Hurricanes: Online Meteorology Guide
- Extensive information on hurricanes, including preparations to make. Some parts use Shockwave or VRML.
- Lightning-Strike & Electric Shock Injury Sequela
- A short but useful set of links to texts and other web resources concerned with lightning or electric shock trauma.
- National Severe Storms Lab
- From NOAA's National Severe Storms Lab in Oklahoma -- general information, the "weather room", and scientific research.
- Tropical Hurricane Prediction Center
- NOAA's site has information and images on severe storms and tropical cyclones.
- Florida Division of Emergency Management
- This site gives current information about threats or storms affecting Florida; many useful links.
- The Tornado Project
- This Vermont site focuses on tornados, with a twist -- past, present, and myths.
- Global Weather Forcasts
- William Gray's storm-related weather forcasts from Colorado State: for Atlantic, Africa, and El Nino regions.
Natural Disasters: Fires
- Firewise Home Page
- This site offers protective information about wildfires, to help reduce damage to fire-prone homes or property.
Natural Disasters: Wildfires
- General, current, information about wildfires from the US
National Interagency Coordination Center
- Information about current wild land fires in the US, and
NICC's efforts to fight them.
Natural Disasters: Diseases
- HEALTH Map: Global Disease Mapping System
- HEALTHMap uses disparate data to achieve a comprehensive view of global infectious diseases.
- CDC Web Search
- Search engine for the Center for Disease Control website
(e.g., enter a disease name).
- WHO: Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network
- WHO's Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network developed Guiding Principles for International Outbreak Alert & Response.
- World Health Organization: Disease Outbreak News
- The WHO maintains current information about various disease epidemics, worldwide.
- CDC: SARS Site
- CDC's site about Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS); both general information & specific topics are covered.
- WHO: SARS
- Latest information about SARS from the World Health Organization, includes outbreaks, travel recommendations, etc.
Specific Man-Made Disasters
A changing collection of sites with information about current or recent man-made disaster(s). These links are updated periodically.
Man-Made Disasters: Wars
- American Refugee Committee
- ARC works for the survival and well-being of refugees and displaced persons affected by war.
- Resources for Therapists, Clients, & Others Affected by War
- Links to a variety of resources that may be helpful to therapists, clients, and others affected by war -- many online.
- Children and War Foundation
- The Children and War Foundation was created to gather knowledge & improve care of children affected by war or disaster.
- War Child Home Page
- War Child aims to alleviate suffering of children in war zones by providing aid, funding, and awareness.
- On Neutrality in a War Zone
- Clay Foreman explores adaptation of civilian police practices in a civil war (in former Yugoslavia).
- AAAS News Release on Torture.
- AAAS forum explores whether the US tortures prisoners.
Man-Made Disasters: Terrorism & Terrorist Organizations
- Terrorism: Watch & Warning
- This site is dedicated to informing the public about terrorism and information warfare.
- International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism
- ICT website focuses on counter terrorism; includes current news updates and several articles on bin Ladin & al-Qaida.
Man-Made Disasters: Bio-terrorism (Anthrax, etc.)
- Center for Disease Control: Emergency
Preparedness and Response
- CDC's public health emergency preparedness & response page includes
information on Anthrax alongn with other bioterrorism resources.
- Mental Health of Populations Exposed to Biological and Chemical Weapons
- A PDF from WHO recommends specific mental health interventions for both acute and post-emergency phases of response.
- Center for Infectious Disease
- CIDRAP's website at the University of Minnesota includes a bioterrorism watch, and information about food safety.
- LA Public Health: Acute
Communicable Disease Control
- Current information from Los Angeles Public Health
Department, on bioterrorism and related issues.
Man-Made Disasters: Mass Shootings (e.g., shootings at schools, etc.)
Note that much general information on children, trauma, grief, etc. is available throughout this site, especially on the Trauma & Support Pages, this page, & the Trauma Links page. A section of more general links on School Violence (and its prevention) have been added to Trauma Links page.
- 'The Killer at Thurston High'
- Synopsis, summarizing the PBS Frontline program on Kip Kinkel (aired 18 Jan 2000).