Disaster Resources

The effects of extreme weather can be long-lasting and the resulting trauma can reverberate even with those not directly affected by the disaster.  It is common for people who have experienced traumatic situations to have very strong emotional reactions. Understanding normal responses to these abnormal events can aid you in coping effectively with your feelings, thoughts and behaviors, and help you along the path to recovery.  VACP, through our Disaster Response Network, works closely with the American Red Cross to provide mental health assistance in times of crisis and disaster to those who experience post-traumatic stress, grief, and other psychological distresses encountered during difficult events.  Contact VACP at 804-643-5614 for more information.

Disaster Response Mobile App

Available through the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)  
Download the NEW App!  Access critical, disaster-related behavioral health resources right from your phone with the SAMHSA Disaster App™

Google play icon   Apple store icon

  • Be ready—access resources for any type of traumatic event, including tip sheets; guides for responders, teachers, parents, and caregivers; and a directory of behavioral health service providers in the impacted area. 
  • Be prepared—rely on and access pre-downloaded resources on your phone in case of limited Internet connectivity in the field.
  • Be confident—review key preparedness materials so you're confident you're providing the best support possible. 
  • Share resources easily—send information to colleagues and survivors via text message, email, or transfer to a computer for printing.

Coping with Disasters

Preparing for a Hurricane or Tropical Storm
Tips to Strengthen Your Emotional Well-Being Before the Arrival of a Hurricane
Building Your Resilience

Red Cross
Recovering Emotionally
Hurricane Preparedness

Red Cross/FEMA
Helping Children Cope with Disaster

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA)
Coping During Disaster Anniversaries and Trigger Events
Tips for Talking to Children and Youth After Traumatic Events
Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event: Managing Your Stress
Warning Signs
Incidents of Mass Violence

Centers for Disease Control Emergency Preparedness and Response

National Weather Service
National Hurricane Center
Hurricane Preparedness

Listed below are resources for parents and mental health professionals helping children who have been exposed to trauma, violence, and/or disaster.   

Managing traumatic stress: Tips for recovering from disaster and other traumatic events - American Psychological Association

After an Explosion - FEMA - Ready.gov

Coping with Disaster - FEMA - Ready.gov

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health After a Disaster - American Red Cross

Recovering Emotionally - American Red Cross

Helping Children Cope with Disaster American Red Cross/US Federal Emergency Management Agency

Disaster Distress Helpline (24/7 phone and text) - Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration

Psychological First Aid for Schools: Field Operations Guide - National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters - For Parents of Children Exposed to Violence or Disaster – What Parents Can Do -National Institute of Mental Health 

The Great Storm and Flood Recovery: Children's Story & Activity Book (English)
The Great Storm and Flood Recovery: Children's Story & Activity Book (Spanish)
Mentor Research Institute

Listen, Protect and Connect: Psychological First Aid for Children and Parents -Ready.gov

Trinka and Sam Children's Booklet (English) 
Trinka and Sam Children's Booklet (Spanish)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Parent Guidelines for Helping Children after Hurricanes (English)
Parent Guidelines for Helping Children after Hurricanes (Spanish)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

After the Hurricane: Helping Young Children Heal -National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Helping Young Children and Families Cope with Trauma (English)
Helping Young Children and Families Cope with Trauma (Spanish)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Simple Evacuation Activities for Children and Adolescents - National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Recovery: After a Flood -National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Recovery: After a Hurricane -National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Childhood Traumatic Grief Educational Materials for Parents -National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Childhood Traumatic Grief Educational Materials for School Personnel -National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Teacher Guidelines for Helping Children after Hurricanes -National Child Traumatic Stress Network

“Children, teens at risk for lasting emotional impact from Hurricane Sandy” -Medicalxpress.com


News Stories

“7 Ways to Manage Stress in a Disaster”

“Katrina, Joplin survivors offer advice to Sandy victims”

“Cold, gloom can hurt survivors’ safety, mood”
USA Today 

“For Many, 'Superstorm' Sandy Could Take Toll on Mental Health”
US News & World Report 

“How Disasters Bring Out Our Kindness”

“Why Climate Disasters Might Not Boost Public Engagement on Climate Change”
New York Times


La Greca, A.M., Silverman, W.K., et al. (2010). Hurricane-Related Exposure Experiences and Stressors, Other Life Events, and Social Support: Concurrent and Prospective Impact on Children’s Persistent Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(6), 794-805. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/78/6/794.pdf 
This study examines the influence of a destructive hurricane on children’s persistent posttraumatic stress (PTS).

Roberts, Y.H., Mitchell, M.J., Witman, M., & Taffaro, C. (2010). Mental Health Symptoms in Youth Affected by Hurricane Katrina. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 41(1), 10–18. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pro/41/1/10/
This study presents the results of a youth assessment survey done 2 years after Hurricane Katrina regarding the prevalence of mental health symptoms with recommendations for post-Katrina mental health needs. 

Serious Emotional Disturbances Found Among Children After Katrina (2010, January 5). Science Daily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100105100031.htm 
Discussion regarding a study done at Virginia Tech regarding the serious emotional disturbances found among children after Hurricane Katrina, including hyperactivity, eating disorders, fears, and learning difficulties. 

Schulenberg, S.E., Dellinger, K.A., Koestler, A.J, et al. (2008). Psychologists and Hurricane Katrina: Natural Disaster Response Through Training, Public Education, and Research. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2(2), 83-88. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/tep/2/2/83/
This scholarly article explores ways psychologists can use their clinical training in a disaster setting in light of the author’s experience in Hurricane Katrina. (See October 2008 Buzz)

Wang, P.S., Gruber, M.J, Powers, R.E. et al. (2007). Mental Health Service Use Among Hurricane Katrina Survivors in the Eight Months After the Disaster. Psychiatr Serv, 58(11), 1403-1411. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2078533/
A scholarly study on the use of mental health services by adult survivors of Katrina, concluding that few Katrina survivors with mental disorders received adequate care and future disaster responses will require timely provision of services.

Aten, J.D., Madoson, M.B, Rice, A. & Chamberlain, A.K. (2008). Postdisaster Supervisor Strategies for Promoting Supervisee Self-Care: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2(2), 75-82. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/tep/2/2/75.pdf 
Scholarly article focusing on strategies for supervisors to deal with the self-care of their supervisees written in the wake of Katrina. A supervisor self-care tool is also included.