The Latest

Resources Available for Dealing with Psychological Impact of Natural Disasters

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite imagery shows Hurricane Irma as it moves toward Florida at 10:37 a.m. EDT, Sept. 9, 2017. (Image credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)
By Sharon Holland

Medical personnel carry someone on a stretcher to a helicopter.
Coast Guardsmen medically evacuate a patient from St. Thomas in the U.S.
Virgin Islands, Sept. 9, 2017, in Hurricane Irma’s aftermath. Irma inflicted
catastrophic damage to the island when it made landfall as a Category 5
storm Sept. 6. Army National Guard (Image credit: Sgt. Priscilla Desormeaux)
Catastrophic natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, cause extreme disruption and can be distressful for individuals, families and communities. People receiving assistance as well as those involved in disaster management efforts can be affected.

Individual and community strength can be enhanced by interventions that address critical behavioral health issues throughout both the response and recovery phases. Ideal interventions promote the evidence-based principles of Psychological First Aid (PFA), including: safety, calming, self- and community-efficacy, social connectedness, and a sense of hope/optimism.

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress has developed a number of online resources to assist these communities preparing for and in the wake of disaster.

The view from the end of a driveway in a suburban neighborhood down the street which is flooded into the yards of the homes.
Hurricane Irma leaves downed trees and flooded roads in its wake in
Central Florida. (Image credit: Michael Gilbert)
Grief: Understanding and Managing 
Evacuation Centers and Behavioral Health Considerations

An aerial view of a suburban neighborhood that is flooded.
An aerial from shows extensive flooding in a residential from Hurricane Harvey in Southeast Texas, Aug. 31, 2017 Air National Guard (Image credit: Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Martinez)