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Resources Specific to Emergency/Crisis and Disaster Settings

What do we mean by trauma-informed services and why is such an approach important?

  • Department of Homeland Security and has developed Coping with Disaster. This resource provides information related to coping with disasters. Disasters are upsetting experiences for everyone involved. The emotional toll that disaster brings can sometimes be even more devastating than the financial strains of damage and loss of home, business or personal property. Children, senior citizens, people with access or functional needs, and people for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk.
  • Trauma and Disaster Response Toolkit was developed by SummitStone Health Partners. Uncertainty and fear can cause strong emotions including anxiety, anger, and depression. These are normal feelings to experience when faced with uncertainty, and these powerful reactions should lessen over time. The toolkit has resources to help adults and youth cope with trauma.
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has developed the guide Helping Families Deal With the Stress of Relocation After a Disaster. This document gives information and tips that explain basic information about stress, signs of and ways to help family members deal with relocation stress, signs of stress in young people of different age groups (preschool to high school age), and ways to help young people deal with stress (preschool to high school age)..
  • The American Counseling Association has developed materials entitled Disasters and Mental Health. Both natural and human-generated disasters, which are associated with destruction as well as loss of loved ones and irreplaceable belongings, often overwhelm one's normal coping capacity.
  • Trauma Therapy-Coping with Disaster is published by International SOS. This resource outlines treatment aids for recovery and also provides tips to ensure that one can recover from emotional or psychological trauma.
  • Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event is located on the CDC’s website. The website resources promote taking care of yourself and each other, and knowing when and how to seek help.

My agency has decided it wants to be more trauma-informed. Where do I start?

  • SAMSHA funds the. Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC): DTAC helps prepare states, territories, tribes, and local entities to deliver an effective mental health and substance misuse response to disasters.
  • HHS ASPR Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE): was created to meet the information and technical assistance needs of regional ASPR staff healthcare coalitions, healthcare entities, healthcare providers, emergency managers, public health practitioners, and others working in disaster medicine, healthcare system preparedness, and public health emergency preparedness. TRACIE offers a self-service collection of disaster medical, healthcare, and public health preparedness materials; provides access to Technical Assistance Specialists for one-on-one support; and allows open discussion within a user-restricted, peer-to-peer discussion board.
  • The SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series (DBHIS) contains resource collections and toolkits pertinent to disaster behavioral health. Installments focus on specific populations, specific types of disasters, and other topics related to all-hazards disaster behavioral health preparedness and response.
    • The SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health App can be downloaded prior to deployment. It contains a comprehensive library of resources on disaster behavioral health for all types of incidents. A list of local behavioral health providers can be downloaded prior to deploying to an incident. Available for iphone, Android, or Blackberry
  • Tips for Survivors of Traumatic Stress is a SAMHSA pamphlet that provides stress management tips for disaster survivors and describes how to know when to seek professional help.
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the National Center for PTSD developed the Second Edition of Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide and accompanying handouts. Psychological First Aid is an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families in the aftermath of disaster and terrorism.
  • National Center for PTSD and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs has developed Mental Health Reactions After Disaster, which helps with understanding post-traumatic stress. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, almost everyone will find themselves unable to stop thinking about what happened.

How can I/my staff recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in the clients we work with?

Becoming trauma-informed is a process for all members of the agency who interact with clients.

  • FEMA has developed the Children and Disasters website. The Children and Disasters webpage reflects resources available to support the integration and implementation of children’s disaster related needs into preparedness, planning, response and recovery efforts initiated by state, local and tribal governments, as well as stakeholders responsible for the temporary care of children.
  • The CDC has provided information on Helping Children with Disabilities Cope with Disaster and Traumatic Events. Children tend to react to disaster and traumatic events based on their past experiences and what they know of the current situation. Children with disabilities may require extra support from an adult to help them cope with disaster or traumatic events.

What are the key issues in making sure my agency does not re-traumatize our clients?

  • Coping With Grief After Community Violence introduces some of the signs of grief and anger, provides useful information about how to cope with grief, and offers tips for helping children deal with grief.\
  • How to deal with grief—SAMHSA defines grief and explains how to deal with it as a frequent response to loss or death. Information on how grief feels, how long it lasts, the four-step grieving process, and how grief differs from depression is also included in this tip sheet.
  • Dealing with the effects of trauma: A self-help guide is a SAMHSA guide provides more in-depth information on recovering from a traumatic event and is geared toward those whose reactions may be lingering.
  • Disaster Distress Helpline is a service of SAMHSA. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746 to get help and support for any distress that you or someone you care about may be feeling related to any disaster.
  • Be Red Cross Ready: Taking care of your emotional health after a disaster pamphlet lists emotional reactions many people have after a disaster, what a survivors can do to cope with their feelings, and where to seek additional help if needed.

My staff often burn out from dealing with clients’ trauma constantly.  How can I support them?

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