The following list of materials includes those focused on behavioral health needs for a winter storm, and separate sections listing materials for addressing the special needs of children and caregivers, older adults, people with disabilities, and disaster responders.
Winter Storm-Specific Information
- SAMHSA behavioral health disaster app - The SAMHSA Disaster App allows disaster behavioral health responders to navigate resources related to pre-deployment preparation, on-the-ground assistance, and post-deployment resources. Users can also share resources from the app via text message or email, and quickly identify local behavioral health services.
- Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event: Managing Stress - This SAMHSA tip sheet gives stress prevention and management tips for dealing with the effects of trauma, mass violence, or terrorism (Spanish Version). Lists tips to relieve stress, describes how to know when to seek professional help, and provides accompanying resources.
- Be Red Cross ready: Taking care of your emotional health after a disaster - This fact sheet from the American Red Cross explains normal reactions to a disaster, what a survivor can do to cope with these emotions, and where to seek additional help if needed.
- Coping with Shelter-in-Place Emergencies - The American Red Cross discusses how to cope emotionally with Shelter-in-Place emergencies by understanding it and identifying and addressing typical reactions.
Resources for Teachers, Families, and Caregivers to Help Children and Youth
- Children and youth - SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series installment - This SAMHSA DTAC DBHIS 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.
- Helping Children after a Natural Disaster - This information sheet provides parents and teachers a guide to help children recover from after a natural disaster.
- Helping your child cope with media coverage of disasters: A fact sheet for parents - The authors of this fact sheet explain how media coverage of a traumatic event may affect children and provide strategies to help parents address these effects.
- Helping children cope with disaster - The American Red Cross offers suggestions for parents and other caretakers to consider on things they can do and say to help children (of all ages) recover from a disaster. Tips for family disaster preparedness are also included.
- Parent tips for adolescents - This table lists possible reactions, suggested responses, and examples of things parents can do and say to children affected by a disaster.
- Parent tips for infants and toddlers - This table lists possible reactions, how to understand them, and suggestions that can help parents of infants and toddlers cope with their emotions after a disaster.
- Parent tips for preschoolers - This table lists possible reactions, suggested responses, and examples of things parents can do and say to preschool-age children affected by a disaster.
- Parent tips for school-age children - This table lists possible reactions, suggested responses, and examples of things parents can do and say to school-age children after a disaster.
- Responding to stressful events: Helping children cope- This packet contains information on helping children cope after a stressful event, highlighting common reactions and coping techniques.
- School crisis guide: Helping and healing in a time of crisis - The authors of this guide share essential, concise advice on crisis planning for schools and school districts. They also suggest ways that state and local associations can assist the community during a crisis.
- Tips for talking with and helping children and youth cope after a disaster or traumatic event: A guide for parents, caregivers, and teachers - This fact sheet can help parents, caregivers, and teachers recognize and address problems in children and teens affected by a mass casualty event. Readers can learn about signs of stress reactions that are common in young survivors at different ages, how to help children through grief.
- Understanding child traumatic stress - The author discusses the cognitive response to danger as it relates to traumatic experiences or traumatic stress throughout all developmental stages, particularly in children. The document includes an overview of posttraumatic stress responses and their severity and duration, as well as posttraumatic stress after chronic or repeated trauma.
Resources Focused on Older Adults
- Older adults and disaster: Preparedness and response - This guide from the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation can help older adults, their family members, and their caregivers prepare for and respond to disasters. The webpage describes factors that contribute to vulnerability, lists actions that can be taken before and after a disaster strikes, and provides a list of resources for additional support.
- Psychosocial issues for older adults in disasters - This booklet contains tools for mental health professionals, emergency response workers, and caregivers to use when providing disaster mental health and recovery support to older adults.The authors explore the nature of disasters and older adults' reactions to them.
- What you need to know about...helping the elderly recover from the emotional aftermath of a disaster - This one-page fact sheet lists common reactions older adults may have after a disaster and warning signs that someone may need extra help, as well as strategies to help older adults with their special needs.
Resources Focused on People with Disabilities
- Disabled people and disaster planning - This website provides recommendations for reducing or eliminating common barriers to access that many people with disabilities experience after disasters.
- Individuals with disabilities or access & functional needs - This website was developed by the Department of Homeland Security in consultation with the American Association of Retired People, the American Red Cross, and the National Organization on Disability. It provides recommendations for people with disabilities to consider when creating a disaster supply kit.
- Tips for first responders - The authors of this 28-page booklet offer tips disaster and other first responders can use during emergencies and routine encounters to accommodate and communicate with people with disabilities. The booklet is divided into sections that focus on the following populations: older adults, people with service animals, mobility impairments, autism, multiple chemical sensitivities, or cognitive disabilities; and people who are hearing or visually impaired.
Resources Focused on Substance Abuse Concerns
- Substance Use Disorders and Disasters - This SAMHSA DTAC DBHIS installment provides resources on the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders that can be used to help plan for, respond to, and recover from disasters. The installment includes tip sheets, guides, and other downloadable resources that can be used to help people with substance use disorders to recover from disaster events and find treatment.
- Disaster events and services for persons with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders - This tip sheet discusses the needs of people with co-occurring mental illness and substance use issues after a disaster. It also covers topics for people who interact and work with these populations need to know. Those addressed include families and other concerned nonprofessionals, health care providers, and human service and other community providers.
- After a disaster: Self-care tips for dealing with stress - This SAMHSA fact sheet provides information for disaster survivors dealing with stress and helps mitigate the misuse of alcohol and other substances. It includes the signs and symptoms of stress, as well as ways to ease stress.
- Alcohol, Medication, and Drug Use after Disaster - This handout by NCTSN provides information that disaster survivors can use to avoid increased use of alcohol and misuse of prescription medications and other drugs after a disaster. It also provides tips for survivors to avoid relapse post disaster.
- Identifying Substance Misuse in the Responder Community: Tips for Disaster Responders - This SAMHSA tip sheet describes the warning signs of misuse of alcohol, prescription drugs, and other substances for disaster response workers. Reviews physical and emotional; social and behavioral; and mental indicators of possible substance abuse, and when to seek help.
Disaster Response Personnel
- A guide to managing stress in crisis response professions - This SAMHSA pocket guide provides first responders with information on signs and symptoms of stress and offers simple, practical techniques for minimizing stress responses prior to and during disaster response.
- Psychological First Aid: How you can support well-being in disaster victims. This fact sheet by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network explains how disaster response workers can use psychological first aid to help people in distress after a disaster.
- Preventing and Managing Stress: Tips for First — This SAMHSA tip sheet helps disaster response workers prevent and manage stress. It includes strategies to help responders prepare for their assignment, use stress-reducing precautions during the assignment, and manage stress in the recovery phase of the assignment (Spanish Version).
- Guidelines for working with first responders (firefighters, police, emergency medical service and military) in the aftermath of disaster - This online tip sheet lists common characteristics of disaster responders, suggests interventions for working with disaster responders, and provides additional resources useful for working with this population.
- Self-care for disaster behavioral health responders - In this 60-minute SAMHSA DTAC podcast, disaster behavioral health responders can learn about best practices and tools that could enable them and their supervisors to identify and effectively manage stress and secondary traumatic stress.
- Stress management for emergency responders: What responders can do - This CDC audio podcast is part of a series that examines sources of stress and what individuals, team leaders, and agency management can do to manage the stress. Tips for reducing stress and lessening its negative impacts are also provided by CDC.
- Surviving field stress for first responders - CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry online course is designed to help all types of first responders be prepared for "21st century...disaster events."
- Traumatic incident stress: Information for emergency response workers - This CDC fact sheet outlines symptoms of traumatic incident stress and lists activities emergency response workers can do on site and at home to cope with disaster response.
- Understanding compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction: Tips for disaster responders - This SAMHSA DTAC podcast can help disaster behavioral health professionals learn about the positive and negative effects of helping disaster survivors.
Traumatic Stress and Retraumatization Resources
- Effects of traumatic stress after mass violence, terror, or disaster - This National Center for PTSD webpage describes the emotional, cognitive, physical, and interpersonal reactions that disaster survivors may experience and discusses the potentially severe stress symptoms that may lead to lasting PTSD, anxiety disorders, or depression. Information on how survivors can reduce their risk of psychological difficulties and to recover most effectively from disaster stress is also provided.
- Helping students cope with trauma and loss: Online training for school personnel - This online training course provides a framework for school personnel to use in understanding trauma and how it affects students and their families. Within Course 1, Part 1 (“Overview of Trauma”), the author provides information about retraumatization, traumatic reminders, and secondary stresses.
- Media coverage of traumatic events: Research on effects - The National Center for PTSD presents information on the effects of intense media exposure following a disaster. The website describes the association between watching media coverage of traumatic events and stress symptoms. Guidance for providers who work with children and their parents to avoid retraumatization is also provided.
- Trauma and retraumatization - The authors of this resource paper presents an overview of the types of trauma and its cumulative and intergeneration effects. Special attention is paid to the continued retraumatization that results from experiencing a disaster.
- Traumatic stress and substance use problems& - This booklet authored by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies discusses the research that examines the link between exposure to traumatic events and substance use problems.
- White paper: Addressing the traumatic impact of disaster on individuals, families, and communities - The author addresses healing from the trauma induced by a disaster, especially in terms of regaining normalcy and offering and receiving peer support. She also highlights ways to restore communities, including the supports that are needed to be sensitive to individuals’, children’s, and families’ recovery from trauma.
Links to Organizations and Agencies
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Winter Weather
The CDC’s mission is to increase the health security of the United States. The CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response website provides information on a host of hazards, including wildfires.
- Ready.gov: Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
This federal website offers information on preparing, responding, and staying safe after a winter storm or extremely cold conditions.
- American Red Cross: Winter Storm Preparedness
The American Red Cross provides tips on how to properly prepare and respond to winter storms in order to remain healthy and safe.
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress is dedicated to advancing trauma-informed knowledge, leadership, and methodologies. The center's work addresses a wide scope of trauma exposure from the consequences of combat, operations other than war, terrorism, natural and human-caused disasters, and public health threats.
- Headington Institute The institute's website offers links to podcasts, handouts, self-care assessments, and online trainings for psychological and spiritual support for community caregivers.
A traumatic event such as this is unexpected and often brings out strong emotions. People can call the Disaster Distress Helpline’s toll-free number (1-800-985-5990) and receive immediate counseling. This free, confidential, and multilingual crisis support service is also available via SMS (text TalkWithUs to 66746) to anyone experiencing psychological distress as a result of this event. Callers and texters are connected to trained and caring professionals from crisis counseling centers in the network. The Helpline staff provides confidential counseling, referrals, and other needed support services.
The SAMHSA Disaster App allows disaster behavioral health responders to navigate resources related to pre-deployment preparation, on-the-ground assistance, and post-deployment resources. Users can also share resources from the app via text message or e-mail, and quickly identify local behavioral health services.