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Disaster Response & Recovery

The resources in this section offer support for people who have been affected by a disaster, and recommendations about how professionals and communities can help.

For Individuals & Families

Disaster Worker Resiliency Training Materials in English and Spanish
From the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, this awareness-level training is designed for a wide variety of disaster-impacted workers, including those working in disaster response, recovery, and rebuilding—such as paid employees, volunteers, and homeowners in a disaster-impacted area. It may be appropriate for disaster workers who are also disaster survivors.

Disaster Assistance Improvement Program
The Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP) makes it possible for disaster survivors to find, learn about, and apply for many forms of disaster assistance online. It also provides information about evacuating, finding shelter, getting food and water, and locating loved ones.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The Disaster Distress Helpline (a program of SAMHSA) is a national, toll-free, multi-lingual hotline that provides phone- and text-based crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress before, during, and after natural or human-caused disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” (for English) or “Hablanos” (for Spanish) to 66746.

American Red Cross (2003)

The American Red Cross provides practical tips for staying safe, checking for damage, and recovering emotionally and financially after a disaster.

Center for Mental health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2007)

This two-page fact sheet includes signs of stress, strategies for stress relief and self-care, and helpful resources for survivors of a traumatic event.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

This four-page fact sheet includes common responses to trauma among children and adolescents, tips for talking about traumatic events, and other ways parents, caregivers, and teachers can help.

For Service Providers, Organizations, & Communities

National Sexual Violence Resource Center  (2008)

This guide provides an overview of sexual violence in disasters and a range of recommendations for prevention and response before, during, and after a disaster. Available in English and Spanish.

The Urban Institute (2006 & 2007)

After Hurricane Katrina, the Urban Institute issued a series of three essay collections about the economic and social conditions in New Orleans before, during, and after the hurricane. These reports include recommendations for rebuilding New Orleans and other communities affected by future disasters.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health (2013)

The Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response is a set of four online courses designed to assist service providers in providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services to diverse communities before, during, and after a disaster.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2003)

This publication presents guiding principles and recommendations for developing and providing culturally competent mental health services for individuals and communities affected by disasters.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2005)

This resource for mental health and disaster workers includes essential information about survivors’ and family members’ reactions and needs after human-caused events   like mass shootings, bombings, riots, and acts of terrorism. It describes basic helping skills and includes self-care recommendations for service providers.

RAND Corporation (2009)

This paper discusses challenges that nongovernmental organizations face in supporting community efforts to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. It includes recommendations for state and federal policy and future research.

Skills for Psychological Recovery: Field Operations Guide
National Center for PTSD and National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2010)
Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) is a skills-training intervention to help disaster survivors reduce ongoing distress and cope with challenges as they rebuild after a disaster. The core skills include problem-solving, promoting positive activities, managing reactions, promoting helpful thinking, and rebuilding healthy social connections. Developmental and cultural considerations are emphasized throughout the Field Operations Guide. A free online course about SPR is also available (a free user account is required).