Disaster Response Resources

Louisiana Floods

As you know, the recent floods in Louisiana have affected many lives including some of our members. Approximately 10,000 people are in shelters, 24,000 households have been affected, and at least 11 people have died as a result of this disaster.

APA’s Disaster Resource Network (DRN) is actively engaged in efforts to disseminate resources to Louisiana and recruit psychologists in the DRN for response efforts. DRN staff are in contact with our long-time partner the American Red Cross which is currently deploying volunteers to Louisiana.

Psychologists who are licensed and have disaster mental health training but are not in the DRN can also volunteer through Red Cross. They will need to follow the instructions in the attached Red Cross flyer.

The following APA resources are available on the Psychology Help Center.

Recovering emotionally from disaster, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/recovering-disasters.aspx.

Manage flood-related distress by building resilience, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/flood-distress.aspx.

What psychologists do on disaster relief operations, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/disaster-site.aspx.

Mass Shootings

Disaster Resources from APA Disaster Resource Network

Tips and Tools:

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline

  • Info and Overview about the Helpline




  • Helping Your Children Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting

Tips on how to talk to children after a shooting rampage.


7 Ways to Talk to Children and Youth about the Shootings in Orlando


  • Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting

Tips on how to regain a sense of normalcy in daily life and how to strengthen your resilience in the time after a shooting.


  • Helpful Responses to LGBTQ People and Allies in the Aftermath of Orlando
Responding to the Tragedy in Orlando: Helpful Responses for LGBTQ People and Allies

Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress:

  • Restoring a Sense of Safety in the Aftermath of a Mass Shooting: Tips for Parents and Professionals

Advice for parents on how to help their children in the wake of a mass shooting tragedy.



NYU Child Study Center:

  • Helping Your College-Bound Children and College Students Cope after the Virginia Tech Shootings:  A Guide for Parents.

Tips for parents on helping adolescents and college students cope in the aftermath of school shootings, tips for parents with adolescents preparing for college, and indicators of difficulty with college adjustment are all included in this comprehensive guide regarding the Virginia Tech shootings.



National Child Traumatic Stress Network:

  • Resources in Response to the Recent Shooting                        

In response to the Aurora, CO shooting, the NCTSN has developed resources to help families and communities. Provides multiple tip sheets.




  • Five Tips for Talking with Kids about Scary News

Advice for parents about how to explain traumatic events to children while still making them feel safe.




  • How Are You Coping with the Recent Mass Shootings?

Psychologist Dr. Nerina Garcia-Arcement offers tips for coping following mass shootings http://www.empowher.com/mental-health/content/how-are-you-coping-recent-mass-shootings


Research/ Professional Journal Articles:


PTSD Research Quarterly:

  • Impact of Mass Shootings on Survivors, Families, and Communities

A literature review of mass shootings research. It focuses solely on quantitative studies examining factors at the level of the individual that appear to be related to adjustment following a mass shooting.

Norris, F. (2007). Impact of mass shootings on survivors, families, and communities.

    PTSD Research Quarterly, 18(3), 1-8.



  • Impact of Mass Shootings on Individual Adjustment

This is an updated look at the research since the Norris (2007) review above. This review focuses solely on quantitative studies examining factors at the level of the individual that appear to be related to adjustment following a mass shooting.

Orcutt, H.K., Miron, L.R., & Seligowski, A.V. (2014). Impact of mass shooting on

individuals’ adjustment. PTSD Research Quarterly, 25(3), 1-9.





ABC News:

  • Aurora, CO, Shooting Witnesses: Shock Value Could Add to PTSD Vulnerability

Explains that the shooting was big enough to trigger PTSD in those who were vulnerable. Discusses the impact on those present to witness the shooting and those affected by it.



American Red Cross:

  • Red Cross Support Colorado Community After Tragic Shooting

Red Cross chapter in Denver sent mental health workers to Gateway High School in Aurora, which was set up as an evacuation center for people who were in the movie theater. Red Cross also provided food and water as well as emergency responders at the evacuation center.




  • Grief Counselors Offer Solace Amid Tragedy   

This is a positive article about disaster mental health work.  Dr. Charlton is an APA member and CO DRN member. Our support and thanks to Dan, Martha and all their colleagues in Colorado who assisted survivors, families and friends in the aftermath of the theater shooting.



Huffington Post Blog:

  • Is Disaster Mental Health Helpful? Revisiting the Response to the Sandy Hook School Shooting
    Written by the Director of the Disaster Mental Health Institute at SUNY New Paltz about his experience as a DMH volunteer during Sandy Hook and the effectiveness of crisis counseling.



NBC News:

  • Do school shooting drills go too far? Experts weigh in
    More school districts around the nation are turning to active shooter drills to prepare teachers and law enforcement for the worst-case scenario – and it’s giving some child psychologists pause.



USA Today:

  • Group Helps a ‘New Normal’ Surface in Grief’s Wake

Compassionate Friends, a support group for parents whose children have died, offers understanding to families victimized by the Newtown school shooting.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/29/compassionate-friends-   newtown-shooting-parents/1856779/



  • Grieving Continues in Aurora Movie Theater Shooting                                    

Cites APA’s Psychology Help Center mass shooting resources.


Hurricane Specific Resources


Be Red Cross Ready: Hurricane Safety Checklist. Red Cross. Accessible at http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240216_Earthquake.pdf

This file contains information on what you should do to prepare for a hurricane and how to recover afterwards.


Managing Traumatic Stress: After the Hurricanes. (2011). Psychology Help Center. American Psychological Association. Accessible at http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/hurricane-stress.aspx

This article includes tips on how to restore emotional wellbeing and a sense of control in the wake of a hurricane.


Managing Traumatic Stress: Dealing with the Hurricanes from Afar. (2011). Psychology Help Center. American Psychological Association. Accessible at http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/hurricane-afar.aspx

This article includes tips on how to manage distress from watching images of destruction and worrying about others.


Emergency Preparedness and Response: Hurricanes, Cyclones, Typhoons, and other Tropical Storms. Centers for Disease Control. Accessible at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/

This website contains the most up to date information regarding natural disasters and severe weather, preparation, key facts, and recommendations.


National Hurricane Center Online Tracker. National Weather Service. Accessible at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

This website allows for tracking of hurricanes and storms on the Atlantic and Pacific in real time.


Hurricane Preparedness. National Hurricane Center. National Weather Service. Accessible at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/intro.shtml

Part of Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 24th – May 30th), this consumer website offers information on hurricane history, hurricane hazards, and what people can do to prepare.


NCTSN – Simple Activities for Children and Adolescents (looks like a great resource for shelters or communities without electricity)


Resources from SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline  (references APA Help Center materials along with several others)



Tip Sheets

Emergency Preparedness and Response: Floods. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessible at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/floods/



The MedlinePlus Hurricanes page:

Variety of information and links.



Additional Red Cross Resources

Safe & Well

During an emergency like a hurricane, letting your family know that you are safe can bring your loved ones great peace of mind. That’s why the Red Cross has developed an easy-to-use online tool, called Safe and Well, to help families and individuals notify loved ones that they are safe during an emergency


To register, people should visit the Safe & Well website nd click on the “List Yourself or Search Registrants” links. People in the affected areas can list themselves as “safe and well” on the site by using a pre-disaster phone number or complete address. Disaster survivors can also update their Facebook and Twitter status through the Safe and Well Web site.


Red Cross Shelter App

The application displays real time open shelter information from the National Shelter System, updated every thirty minutes. Shelter details such as the agency managing the shelter, capacity of the shelter and current population, the associated disaster event and the specific shelter address and location are displayed.


Red Cross shelter information can be found on our national website at American Red Cross – Shelters.

American Red Cross Hurricane App

Be ready for Hurricane Sandy with the hurricane app by American Red Cross. Monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an area where a hurricane may strike or has loved ones who do. http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/hurricane-app


First Aid App

The official American Red Cross First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the official American Red Cross First Aid app gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know first aid. http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/first-aid-app


Earthquake App

Be ready for an earthquake with Earthquake by American Red Cross. Get notified when an earthquake occurs, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an earthquake-prone area or has loved ones who do. http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/earthquake-app


Wildfire App

Be ready for wildfires with the official Red Cross wildfire app. “Blaze Warnings” let you see where NOAA has issued wildfire warnings, “Blaze Alerts” notify you when a new wildfire occurs and the “Blaze Path Tracker” gives you a current view of the wildfire’s track and perimeter. You can also let loved ones know that you are safe even if the power is out and learn what steps you should take to prepare your family, home and pets – all from the palm of your hand. http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/wildfire-app


From your mobile phone, call **REDCROSS (**73327677) and we will send you a link to download the app or visit iTunes or Google Play app stores.



The American Red Cross has developed emergency-specific checklists using the latest research, science, best practices and expert opinion. These include information on how to be prepared for many types of disasters. These checklists are online in multiple languages at the following link: Disaster Preparedness Checklists.


Checklists that can assist you are:

Flood Safety Checklist

Hurricane Safety Checklist

Pet Safety Checklist

Power Outage Checklist

Equally important, businesses should be prepared with emergency plans in place to stay afloat. Putting a disaster plan in motion will improve the likelihood that your company may recovery from a disaster. Ready Business (www.ready.gov/business) outlines measures business owners and managers can take now to start getting ready.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

When disaster strikes, often people react with increased anxiety, worry and anger. With support from community and family, most of us bounce back. However, “Some may need extra assistance to cope with unfolding events and uncertainties,” said U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.


The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is the first national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters. Callers and texters are connected to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling center in the network. Helpline staff provides counseling and support, including information on common stress reactions and healthy coping, as well as referrals to local disaster-related resources for follow-up care and support. http://www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/



Selected Research


Mason, V., Andrews, H., & Upton, D. (2010) The psychological impact of exposure to floods. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 15(1), 61-73. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20391225

The aim of this study was to examine the psychological impact of flooding in the UK.


Carroll, B., Morbey, H. Balogh, R., & Araoz, G. (2009). Flooded homes, broken bonds, the meaning of home, psychological processes and their impact on psychological health in a disaster. Health & Place, 15(2), 540-547. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18996730

A study done on flood victims assessed the social and health impacts on people’s lives.


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).


North, C.S. (2010). A Tale of Two Studies of Two Disasters: Comparing Psychosocial Responses to Disaster among Oklahoma City Bombing Survivors and Hurricane Katrina Evacuees. Rehabilitation Psychology, 55(3), 241-246. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/rep-55-3-241.pdf

Research conducted in the aftermaths of the Oklahoma City bombing and Hurricane Katrina showed that the type of disaster can have a distinct effect on how people respond psychologically.


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.


Dewan, Shaila. (2008, December 4). Many Children Lack Stability Long After Storm. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/05/us/05trailer.html

This article is about children in post-Katrina Louisiana (education/health issues, etc).


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.


 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.