Disaster Psychiatry

After a School Tragedy…Readiness, Response, Recovery, & Resources

This resource is designed to help schools better support students and families in the aftermath of violence and trauma. It provides strategies to assist schools with readiness, response, and recovery to help a school community support resilience in the event of a tragedy. It offers places to turn for more resources and discusses terminology and concepts related to suicide and grief.

Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps

The Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps consists of health care and community professionals ready to assist with disaster and emergency recovery during a declared emergency situation. This program coordinates practicing and retired physicians, nurses, other medical and mental health professionals, and non-licensed citizens who are willing to respond to emergency situations and help address their community’s public health needs (e.g., administer immunizations, conduct health screenings, promote health and nutrition education, volunteering in community health centers and local hospitals).

DHMH Office of Preparedness and Response

The Maryland Office of Preparedness and Response coordinates the state’s public health and medical response during an emergency.  We live in a time of climate change, natural disasters, and fear of terrorism and pandemics.  This site is an important resource for physicians who have an obligation to care for patients during these potential crises.

SAMHSA Resources

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a smartphone app with behavioral health information and resources for responders providing support to survivors of disasters.  The SAMHSA Disaster App is available in iPhone/iPad, Google Android, and Blackberry versions. Content includes refreshers on psychological first aid, suicide prevention, disaster mental health, and self-care. One section discusses aspects of working as part of emergency operations following terrorist events. All sections have links to more information.

The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, toll-free, multilingual, confidential, national hotline that provides immediate crisis counseling for people experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster, such as hurricanes, wildfires, etc.  Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

For working with diverse populations, use these resources that provide information and guidelines to improve disaster planning, preparedness, and response regarding cultural awareness and humility.

In addition, SAMHSA offers documents with tips for survivors, supporting older adults, and posters for those affected by disasters.

APA Resources for Disaster Psychiatry

Disaster psychiatry has an important role in prevention, response, and recovery. In times of disaster, the APA works to coordinate and disseminate valuable materials to those in the field. The APA website provides information on responding to disaster, including links for more details.  It also facilitates a network of psychiatrists interested in disaster psychiatry. The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress is a valuable resource for psychiatrists during natural disasters.

HHS Resource Collection

Addresses the impact of post-disaster mental and behavioral health-related challenges on the healthcare system, and includes tools and information providers may use to support the needs of their patients.