Tragedy Resources for Children, Youth, Parents and Educators
The shooting tragedy in Newton, Connecticut has deeply affected our country. Such incidents of mass violence can lead to emotional
distress. Children are particularly vulnerable to such events, especially when the victims of the violence were children. When such events occur, it can be
difficult for parents and teachers to know how to help kids understand and cope with the situation. Below are some web links and attached a resource list for
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration maintains a disaster distress hotline for help. This toll-free helpline operates 24
hours-a-day, seven days a week. This free, confidential and multilingual, crisis support service is available via telephone (1-800-985-5990)
and SMS (Text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746) to U.S. residents who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of a natural or man-made disaster, incidents
of mass violence or any other disasters. Callers are connected to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling center in the network.
The helpline staff provides confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services.
For more information on coping with violence and traumatic events, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/trauma/
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.
The annotated bibliography is found at http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/dbhis/dbhis_children_bib.asp
Helpful links are found at http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/dbhis/dbhis_children_links.asp
Tips for talking with and helping
children and youth cope after a disaster or traumatic event: A guide for
parents, caregivers, and teachers
This tip sheet helps parents,
caregivers, and teachers to recognize and address stress responses in children
and youth affected by traumatic events such as automobile accidents and
disasters. It describes stress reactions that are commonly seen in young trauma
survivors from various age groups and offers tips on how to help as well as
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
This podcast has been archived at http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/podcasts/cultural-awareness/register.asp.
The transcript has been archived at http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/podcasts/cultural-awareness/transcript.pdf.
The presentation has been archived at http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/podcasts/cultural-awareness/presentation.pdf.
Psychosocial issues for children
and adolescents in disasters
This booklet includes resources for
people working with children after a disaster. It covers child development
theories in relation to how youth respond emotionally to disasters. It also
features suggestions, case studies, and a resource guide.
Supplemental research bulletin:
Children and disasters
This Research Bulletin from SAMHSA
examines the emotional impact that natural and human-caused disasters have on
children and youth. Developed in July 2012, this bulletin examines five
recently published research and literature review articles and provides a
discussion of the risk factors linked to children’s responses to disaster,
protective factors, and resilience. It concludes with suggestions about policy
Resources from the
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
okay to remember
video provides information regarding traumatic grief in children, addresses the
three main types of trauma reminders, and illustrates how families can
experience the pain of loss and then heal. It features physicians and experts
in the field and is appropriate for parents and others who care for children.
Parent Tips for Infants and
This document offers a grid to help parents
with infants and toddlers understand how their child may be feeling—it also
offers an in-depth list of how parents can help their young children cope with
o [English] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/english/appendix_e4_tips_for_parents_with_infants_and_toddlers.pdf
o [Chinese] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/chinese/appendix_e3.pdf
o [Japanese] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/janpanese/appendix_e4.pdf
Parent Tips for Preschoolers
This document provides information for parents
including reactions and/or behavior that may occur after a disaster including
suggestions for what to say and do once the disaster is over.
o [English] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/english/appendix_e5_tips_for_parents_with_preschool_children.pdf
o [Chinese] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/chinese/appendix_e4.pdf
o [Japanese] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/janpanese/appendix_e5.pdf
o [Spanish] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/spanish/apendice_e5_preescolar.pdf
Parent Tips for School-age
This document offers information on common
reactions after a disaster and how parents can respond to their school-age
o [English] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/english/appendix_e6_tips_for_parents_with_schoolage_children.pdf
o [Chinese] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/chinese/appendix_e5.pdf
o [Japanese] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/janpanese/appendix_e6.pdf
o [Spanish] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/spanish/apendice_e6_escolar.pdf
Tips for Adolescents
This document will provide parents with tips
for how to respond to their adolescent child after a disaster. The tips include
possible reactions, responses, and examples of things to do and say.
o [English] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/english/appendix_e7_tips_for_parents_with_adolescents.pdf
o [Chinese] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/chinese/appendix_e6.pdf
o [Japanese] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/spanish/apendice_e7_adolescentes.pdf
o [Spanish] http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/pfa/spanish/apendice_e7_adolescentes.pdf
Tips for Parents on Media Coverage
sheet provides information for parents on how to limit a child's exposure to
disturbing media images after an earthquake.
Additional Resources for Children, Parents, and Educators
After a loved one dies—how children grieve; And how parents
and other adults can support them
This 26-page booklet is for parents and other adults to help
children who have suffered the loss of a parent or loved one to get through
Helping students cope with media coverage of disasters: A
fact sheet for teachers and school staff
to this fact sheet, it "provides an overview of how media coverage of a
disaster may affect students and suggests strategies that people working in
schools can use to address these effects. The strategies described in this fact
sheet can be used by teachers, school counselors, school social workers, other
school staff members, and school administrators.
Helping your child cope with media coverage of disasters: A fact
sheet for parents
According to the document, this fact sheet "provides an overview of how
media coverage of a disaster may affect your child and suggests strategies that
parents can use to address these effects.
Responding to stressful events: Helping children cope
This packet contains information on helping children cope after a stressful
event. It provides information on common reactions and coping techniques.
Talk, listen, connect: When families grieve
This collection of resources addresses the difficult topic of the death of a
parent and helps families cope with complex emotions, honor the life of a loved
one, and find strength in each other. There are components for military
families and nonmilitary families.
Understanding child traumatic stress
This document discusses the cognitive response to danger as
it relates to traumatic experiences or traumatic stress throughout all
developmental stages, particularly in children. It provides an overview of
posttraumatic stress responses and their severity and duration, as well as
posttraumatic stress after chronic or repeated trauma.
Resources on Trauma and Mass
Violence and Traumatic Events—This SAMHSA website has a variety of
resources for first responders, schools, adults, and families for coping
with violence and traumatic events. http://www.samhsa.gov/trauma/index.aspx
Dealing with the Effects
of Trauma: A Self-Help Guide—This SAMHSA guide provides more in-depth information
on recovering from a traumatic event and is geared for those whose
reactions may be lingering.
Effects of Traumatic
Stress after Mass Violence, Terror, or Disaster—Developed by the
National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), this publication
provides information regarding normal reactions to abnormal situations. It
includes descriptions of common traumatic stress reactions, problematic
stress responses, and symptoms of PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder.
In the Wake of Trauma:
Tips for College Students—This fact sheet helps college students cope with the
mental health effects in the aftermath of trauma. It explains normal
reactions, emphasizes the importance of talking about feelings, and offers
tips for coping. Includes resources for more information.
Mass disasters, trauma, and loss
This brochure explains stress
reactions individuals may experience after a disaster, what they can do to
recover, and when they should seek professional help.
Mental Health and Mass
Violence: Evidence-Based Early Psychological Intervention for
Victims/Survivors of Mass Violence—This report is targeted
to those who deliver psychological interventions to emotionally distressed
persons following mass violence, to those who research these issues, and
to employers who want to help workers who have experienced this type of
emotional trauma. It is also intended to aid officials who must decide
what mental health help to include in the local, state, and national responses
to survivors of mass violence and terrorism.
Health Care for Ethnic Minority Individuals and Communities in the
Aftermath of Disasters and Mass Violence—This
paper reviews research that indicates that ethnic minorities (African
American, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos) may suffer more
adverse psychological consequences after disasters and mass violence than
do white Americans. Guidelines are provided so that disaster behavioral
health services can become more culturally responsive and traditional
barriers are reduced.
Mental Health Response
to Mass Violence and Terrorism: A Field Guide—This SAMHSA publication
is intended for mental health and disaster workers; first responders;
government agency employees; and crime victim assistance, faith-based,
healthcare, and other service providers who assist survivors and families
during the aftermath of mass violence and terrorism. Please let us know if
you would like additional free copies.
Responding to Victims of
Terrorism and Mass Violence Crimes—This booklet describes
the relationship between the Office of Victims of Crime and the American
Red Cross and provides guidance about crime victims' rights and needs as
well as how to assist victims of terrorism and mass violence crime.
It provides a comparison of how natural disasters are similar to and
different from disasters caused by criminal human behavior and notes the
psychological effects of each.
Violence and Mental Illness: The Facts—This SAMHSA
website discusses the importance of understanding mental illness and
promoting social inclusion.
Resources on Retraumatization and Chronic Stress:
Addressing the Traumatic Impact of Disaster on Individuals,
Families, and Communities
Presented at the After the Crisis Initiative: Healing from Trauma
after Disasters Expert Panel Meeting. This white paper addresses healing from
the trauma induced by a disaster, especially in terms of regaining normalcy and
offering and receiving peer support. In addition, the paper focuses on
restoring communities with the supports necessary to be sensitive to the
recovery from trauma by individuals, children, and families.
This webpage from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention provides clear concise information on coping with stress
related to a traumatic event.
Lessons Learned from School Crises and Emergencies
This publication from the U.S. Department of Education
Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools discusses retraumatization at
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) following
the 2007 campus shooting of 32 individuals.
Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event: Managing Your Stress
This tip sheet outlines the common signs of stress after a
disaster and provides stress reduction strategies.
Trauma and Retraumatization
Presented at the After the Crisis Initiative: Healing from
Trauma after Disasters Expert Panel Meeting, this resource paper presents an
exposition on the types of trauma and its cumulative and intergeneration
effects. It speaks particularly to the continued retraumatization that results
from experiencing a disaster.
Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic
Event: Managing Your Stress—
This tip sheet outlines the common signs of stress after a disaster and
provides stress reduction strategies.
Resources for Disaster Response Professionals:
A Guide to Managing Stress in Crisis Response Professions
manual aids crisis response workers in stress prevention and management before,
during, and after a public health crisis. It describes the stress cycle and
common stress reactions and offers tips to promote a positive workplace and to
monitor and minimize stress.
Guidelines for working with first responders (firefighters,
police, emergency medical service and military) in the aftermath of disaster
online tip sheet lists common characteristics of disaster responders, suggests
interventions for working with disaster responders, and provides additional
resources in working with this population.
Self-Care for Disaster Behavioral Health Responders Podcast
DTAC recently released a Self-Care for Disaster Behavioral Health Responders
Podcast. The goal of this 60-minute podcast is to provide information, best
practices, and tools that enable disaster behavioral health (DBH) responders
and supervisors to identify and effectively manage stress and secondary
traumatic stress through workplace structures and self-care practices.
You can read a transcript of the podcast at http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/selfcareDBHResponders/selfcareDBHResponders-transcript.pdf
Tips for managing and preventing stress: A guide for
emergency response and public safety workers
sheet gives organizational and individual tips for stress prevention and
management for emergency response workers and public safety workers. It
describes normal reactions to a disaster, signs of the need for stress
management, and ways to handle stress.