Emergency Preparedness & Response
Disaster Behavioral Health and Emergency Preparedness
A range of mental health and chemical abuse (behavioral health) problems may surface in the early stages of an emergency situation. These may continue to emerge among the public and among professionals who respond to an event. Addressing these concerns improves the emergency response and the health of the whole community.
On this page:
Psychological First Aid
Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR)
Adult and family resources
Child and school resources
- SAMSA: Coping After Mass Violence
Written for parents and families, this tip sheet from SAMHSA’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) provides information about common reactions to mass violence and self-care tips for those living in communities where an incident of mass violence has taken place.
- NCTSN: Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth after the Recent Shooting
In this 3-page tip sheet released shortly after a shooting, the NCTSN describes how such an event may affect children and teens as well as parents and other caregivers.
- NCTSN: Talking Talking to Children about the Shooting
In this tip sheet, the NCTSN provides suggestions to parents and other caregivers for talking with their children in ways that help them to make sense of and cope with their reactions to a shooting. The tip sheet also identifies reactions common in children and teens to shooting incidents.
- NCTSN: Talking to Teens: When Violence Happens
- NCTSN: Help Kids Cope
This free mobile app provides information to help parents and other caregivers, teachers, counselors, and others to talk about disasters with children.
- CSTS: Coping with Stress Following a Mass Shooting
- CSTS: Restoring a Sense of Safety in the Aftermath of a Mass Shooting
- Disaster Mental/Behavioral Health and COVID-19
Mental health and behavioral health resources specific to COVID-19.
- MDH Managing the Emotional and Behavioral Health Impact of the War in Ukraine (PDF)
- NCTSN: Talking to Children about War
- PTSD: Coping with Current Events in Ukraine
- Psychological First Aid (PFA)
Helping people to reduce stress symptoms and assist in a healthy recovery following a traumatic event, natural disaster, public health emergency, or even a personal crisis.
- Online Psychological First Aid: A Minnesota Community Supported Model
Register at https://www.train.org/mn/ with Course ID 18110-36, PUBH X327 (.75 CEUs from UMN).
Virtual PFA training is open to everyone and is offered every 2nd Monday of the month from 3:00-4:30 PM CST - Register at https://www.train.org/mn/ with Course ID 1101620 (CEU information provided)
- Minnesota Psychological First Aid Just-In-Time (Video: 11 minutes)
Video collaboration between MDH and the City of Minneapolis media department.
- Are You Stressed?
Resources for People in Disaster, Emergency or Crisis
- Psychological First Aid: A Minnesota Community Supported Model
MDH-U of MN School of Public Health collaboration. Five video series, with available CEUs.
- Psychological First Aid Part 1: Introduction to Psychological First Aid (YouTube: 6 min)
- Psychological First Aid Part 2: The Impact of Trauma (YouTube: 6 min)
- Psychological First Aid Part 3: Principles of Psychological First Aid (YouTube: 4 min)
- Psychological First Aid Parts 4 & 5: Techniques and the "Dos" and "Dont's" of PFA (YouTube: 10 min)
- Psychological First Aid Part 6: Responder Self Care (3 min)
- Psychological First Aid (PowerPoint) (PDF)
Read the powerpoint, then take the tests and print the certificate.
- Racialized Communal Trauma: Prep, Context and Healing Remembrance Utilizing Cultural Somatics & PFA (YouTube: 1 hour, 8 min)
Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) is an evidence-informed intervention designed to help individuals gain skills to reduce ongoing distress, promote resilience, and effectively cope in the weeks and months following a disaster or crisis. The SPR intervention is intended for individuals needing more than a single, brief intervention by a non-specialist but not necessarily needing full treatment for depression, anxiety, or PTSD. SPR skills focus on improving social support, helpful thinking, problem-solving, managing distressing responses to disaster reminders, and increasing positive activities.
- Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) (PDF)
Fact sheet about skills for psychological recovery.
- VA: Skills for Psychological Recovery Manual
- Pediatric Care Coordination: Skills for Psychological Recovery Training
- Virtual Skills for Psychological Recovery training is open to disaster behavioral health emergency response and recovery stakeholders and community support service organizations in Minnesota. SPR training is provided as a series of six (6) virtual training sessions. Our next training starts Tuesday starting January 10, 2023 – February 14, 2023, from 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM CST. Register at https://www.train.org/mn/ with Course ID 1107100
- Psychological First Aid: Helping Victims in the Immediate Aftermath of Disaster (PDF)
Fact sheet describing the concept of "psychological first aid" and explains how to administer it.
- Tips for Disaster Responders: Preventing and Managing Stress
- Helping Staff Manage Stress When Returning to Work: Tips for Supervisors of Disaster Responders (PDF)
- Tips for Survivors: What to expect in your personal, family, work and financial life (PDF)
- A Post-Deployment Guide for Emergency and Disaster Response Workers (PDF)
- A Post Deployment Guide for Supervisors of Deployed Personnel (PDF)
- Understanding Historical Trauma to an Event in Indian Country
Link to get the document
- Psychological First Aid for First Responders
SAMHSA tips for emergency and disaster response workers.
- Self-Care Pocket Reference Guide for Emergency Response Deployment (PDF)
A guide for volunteer responders that includes pre- and post- deployment checklists and self-reflection activities. This resource was originally created for the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health, and is now produced by Wisconsin Department of Health.
- Tips for Families of Returning Disaster Responders: Adjusting to Life at Home (PDF)
- Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event: What to Expect in Your Personal, Family, Work, and Financial Life
- When Terrible Things Happen
Recognizing common reactions faced by survivors, and suggesting helpful and less helpful responses.
- Alcohol, Medication, And Drug Use After A Disaster
Helping people understand and manage their use of alcohol, prescription medications, or other drugs after a disaster.
- Helping Families Deal With the Stress of Relocation After a Disaster (PDF)
ATSDR fact sheet to help family members of different ages deal with the stress of relocation.
- Tips for Survivors: Coping with anger after a disaster or other traumatic event (PDF)
- National Institute of Mental Health – 5 things you should know about stress (PDF)
- Adjusting to Life at Home: Tips for Families of Returning Disaster Responders (PDF)
- SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline and Text to Talk line
- After a Crisis: How Young Children Heal (PDF)
- Ready Wrigley Coping After a Disaster: Coloring Book (PDF)
- Being Safe After a Flood Activity Book (PDF)
- Handout for Children – Now that the flood is over, What do you do now? Tips to help yourself feel better (PDF)
- Helping Children After the Flood
Children react differently to a flood and its aftermath depending on their age, developmental level, and prior experiences.
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network
NCTSN provides education and technical assistance for parents, schools, the media and behavioral health professionals who work with traumatic stress in children.
- Resilience in Communities: Community Resilience Program
Resilience in Communities is a website that was developed by national, state and local governments, non-profits, and community agencies to advance the interplay between interdisciplinary community resilience research and public health practice. It provides a “plan, do, improve” approve to developing community resilience.
- HHS Disaster Behavioral Health Concept of Operations (PDF)
- MN Behavioral Health Medical Reserve Corp
Statewide group of volunteer behavioral health specialists.
- Behavioral Health & Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet (PDF)
Fact sheet discusses possible behavioral health problems that may arise during an emergency event.
- American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress
The Academy works to advance interventions for survivors of trauma. They offer publications, discussion forums, and members-only resources.
- National Institute of Mental Health – Suicide Warning Signs (PDF)
- Suicide Prevention Program
Behavioral health resource links from Minnesota, national, international and educational sources.
- MYCepaz App - Teen guide to mental well-being
Stress management app developed by youth for youth.
- Psychological First Aid - Teen Version (Powerpoint) (PDF)
Powerpoint presentation of psychological first aid, targeted to teens.