Resources for Children and Youth During or After a Disaster
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) has put together a resource list to help communities during or after a disaster. These links offer resources for the disaster behavioral health needs of children and youth, related organizations, and tips for parents, caregivers, and teachers as they help their children recover from a disaster or childhood trauma.
In light of the recent impact of Superstorm Sandy, these resources may be especially helpful for children and families who are now returning to homes that have been damaged or destroyed. The resources also include stories and activities designed for children that can help them understand disasters, foster resilience, and encourage the expression of feelings related to disasters.
Children and Youth—SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series installment
This SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series installment focuses on the reactions and mental health needs of children and youth after a disaster and contains resources from both the child trauma and disaster behavioral health fields. The collection includes an annotated bibliography and a section with helpful links to organizations, agencies, and other resources that address disaster preparedness and response issues surrounding children and youth.
Cultural Awareness: Children and Youth in Disasters Podcast
The goal of this 60-minute podcast is to assist disaster behavioral health responders in providing culturally aware and appropriate disaster behavioral health services for children, youth, and families impacted by natural and human-caused disasters. Featured speakers include April Naturale, Ph.D., of SAMHSA DTAC and Russell T. Jones, Ph.D., of Virginia Tech University.
From the SAMHSA National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN):
Trinka and Sam Children's Booklet
Trinka and Sam: The Rainy Windy Day is a story developed to help young children and their families begin to talk about feelings and worries they may have after they have experienced a hurricane. In the story, Trinka and Sam, two small mice, become scared and worried when it begins to rain and storm. The rain and wind remind them of the hurricane they experienced before. The story describes some of their reactions and talks about how their parents help them to express their feelings and feel safer. In the back of the booklet, there is a parent guide that suggests ways that parents can use the story with their children.
Simple Activities for Children and Adolescents
This set of evacuation activities was designed to support families with children during disasters and after times of evacuation. These activity ideas require no (or very few) supplies, and they work for families who are without power or who are still living in damaged areas.
Parent Guidelines for Helping Children after Hurricanes
Children's reactions to the hurricane and its aftermath are strongly influenced by how their parents, teachers, and other caregivers cope during and after the storm. They often turn to these adults for information, comfort, and help. There are many reactions to hurricanes and other frightening events that are common among children. These generally diminish with time, but knowing that these reactions are likely—and normal—can help parents be prepared.
Teacher Guidelines for Helping Children after Hurricanes
Children's reactions to the hurricane and its aftermath are strongly influenced by how their parents, teachers, and other caregivers cope during and after the storm. They often turn to these adults for information, comfort, and help. There are many reactions to hurricanes and other frightening events that are common among children. These generally diminish with time, but knowing that these reactions are likely can help teachers be prepared.
After the Hurricane: Helping Young Children Heal
Young children, toddlers, and preschoolers—even babies—know when bad things happen, and they remember what they have been through. Here are some ways you can help them. This tip sheet was prepared by the Child Trauma Research Project of the University of California San Francisco, part of the Early Trauma Treatment Network.
Helping Young Children and Families Cope with Trauma
This document informs parents of common reactions or symptoms children may have following a traumatic event. It tells parents how to listen to their children and how to help them feel safe. This document addresses self-care and support for parents as well.
Childhood Traumatic Grief Educational Materials for Parents
The information presented here provides an overview of childhood traumatic grief, its general signs and symptoms, and some suggestions on what parents can do to help their child. Using this guide can be a first step for parents to help them understand their child's experience of intense grief following a death of a loved one that the child experienced as being especially difficult or traumatic.
NCTSN Recovery Webpages:
Recovery: After a Flood
Children react differently to a flood and its aftermath depending on their age, developmental level, and prior experiences. Some will respond by withdrawing, while others will have angry outbursts. Still others will become agitated or irritable. Parents should attempt to remain sensitive to each child's reactions.
Recovery: After a Hurricane
After a hurricane most families can be expected to recover over time, particularly with the support of family, friends, and organizations. The length of recovery will depend upon how frightening the hurricane was, if evacuation from home was necessary, and the extent of the damage and loss. Children's functioning will be influenced by how their parents and other caregivers cope during and after the hurricane.
Psychological First Aid Handouts:
Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families in the aftermath of disaster and terrorism. In addition to the English-language edition of PFA, there are versions in Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese. The downloadable handouts linked below provide tips to parents to help them better understand and respond to their children’s reactions and behavior following a disaster.
Parent Tips for Infants and Toddlers
This fact sheet helps teachers recognize and address problems in children and teens affected by trauma after an act of violence. It describes signs of stress reactions that are common in young trauma survivors at different ages and offers tips on how to help.
This booklet offers resources for those working with children in the wake of disaster. It discusses theories of child development as applied to a youth experiencing the fear, anxiety, and trauma of disaster and offers practical suggestions, case studies, and a resource guide.