Large-scale traumatic events, such as natural disasters, mass shootings or other acts of violence, can increase anxiety or other mental health concerns, even if you or someone you know is not directly affected.
If you are experiencing anxiety or other mental health concerns in light of a recent, large-scale traumatic event, please call the 24/7 Crisis Line: 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or MHP at 303-443-8500.
Additionally, please see below for materials compiled by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that might be helpful during the immediate phase of response. The following list of materials includes those focused on general mental health needs after an incident of violence, as well as separate sections listing materials specifically for children, families, and teachers, and for coping with trauma.
General DBH and Mass Violence and Trauma-specific Information
Coping With Grief After Community Violence—This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) tip sheet introduces some of the signs of grief and anger after an incident of community violence, provides useful information about to how to cope with grief, and offers tips for helping children deal with grief.
Incidents of Mass Violence—The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline supports survivors, family members, responders, and recovery workers who are affected by incidents of mass violence and other disasters. Information on this webpage includes a list of signs of emotional distress related to incidents of mass violence, details of lockdown notices and other warnings, and additional resources for coping.
Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event: Managing Stress—This SAMHSA tip sheet gives stress prevention and management tips for dealing with the effects of trauma, mass violence, or terrorism. It lists tips to relieve stress, describes how to know when to seek professional help, and provides accompanying resources.
This tip sheet is also available in Spanish at https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Tips-for-Survivors-of-a-Disaster-or-Other-Traumatic-Event-Managing-Stress-Spanish-Version-/SMA13-4776SPANISH. A similar tip sheet is available in Punjabi at https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Tips-for-Survivors-of-a-Traumatic-Event-Managing-Your-Stress-Punjabi-Version-/NMH05-0209PUNJABI.
Resources for Children, Youth, Parents and Other Caregivers, and Schools
Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers—This tip sheet can help parents, caregivers, and teachers recognize and address problems in children and teens affected by a disaster. Readers can learn about signs of stress reactions that are common in young survivors at different ages, as well as how to help children through grief.
A similar tip sheet is available in Punjabi at https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Tips-for-Talking-to-Children-and-Youth-After-Traumatic-Events-A-Guide-for-Parents-and-Educators-Punjabi-Version-/KEN01-0093PUNJABI.
Understanding Child Trauma—This tip sheet from SAMHSA and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) identifies events that children and youth may experience as traumatic, presents statistics on traumatic experiences and their effects on children and youth, lists signs of traumatic stress in children and youth of various ages, and offers tips for parents and other important adults in the lives of children and youth for helping children and youth to cope with trauma. Links to resources for more information and support are also provided.
A similar tip sheet is available in Spanish at https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Understanding-Child-Trauma-Spanish-Version-/sma17-4923.
Age-related Reactions to a Traumatic Event—In this information and tip sheet, the NCTSN provides an overview of how children and adolescents may react to natural and human-caused disasters that they experience as traumatic. It describes reactions typical within specific age ranges and offers tips for parents and other caregivers, school personnel, healthcare practitioners, and community members to help children and adolescents cope.
Help Kids Cope—This free mobile app provides information to help parents and other caregivers, teachers, counselors, and others to prepare for and talk about disasters with kids. The app features tips and checklists to help with disaster preparation; information about how children typically respond to disasters; and links to kids’ books, activities, and other resources. Developed by the NCTSN and other organizations, the app runs on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, as well as Android devices.
Helping Your Child Cope With Media Coverage of Disasters: A Fact Sheet for Parents—The authors of this fact sheet explain how media coverage of a traumatic event may affect children and provide strategies to help parents address these effects. https://www.oumedicine.com/docs/ad-psychiatry-workfiles/parent_disaster_media_factsheet_2011.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth After the Recent Shooting—In this 3-page tip sheet, the NCTSN describes how a shooting may affect children and teens as well as parents and other caregivers. The tip sheet lists reactions common among people of all ages, offers coping tips for caregivers, and suggests ways for caregivers to support children and youth in coping with their reactions to a shooting. This resource is available in Spanish as well as English.
Parent Tips for Helping Adolescents After Disasters—This table lists possible reactions, suggested responses, and examples of things parents can do and say to children affected by a disaster.
The table is also available in Spanish at https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources/pfa_parent_tips_for_helping_adolescents_after_disasters_sp.pdf.
Parent Tips for Helping School-age Children After Disasters—This table lists possible reactions, suggested responses, and examples of things parents can do and say to support their school-age children after a disaster. https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources/pfa_parent_tips_for_helping_school_age_children_after_disasters.pdf
The table is also available in Spanish at https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources/pfa_parent_tips_for_helping_school_age_children_after_disasters_sp.pdf.
Psychological Impact of the Recent Shooting—This document from the NCTSN lists different psychological reactions to a shooting and its related consequences (such as decreases in school performance and sleep disturbances). https://www.nctsn.org/resources/psychological-impact-recent-shooting
Restoring a Sense of Safety in the Aftermath of a Mass Shooting: Tips for Parents and Professionals—This fact sheet from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress provides tips for professionals to help them communicate effectively about a shooting, ensure physical safety and security, and provide answers to some common questions.
Talking to Children About the Shooting—In this 2-page 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.
Tips for Helping Students Recovering From Traumatic Events—This brochure, which is based on discussions with some three dozen experts who work with students, provides practical information for parents and students who are coping with the aftermath of a disaster, as well as teachers, coaches, school administrators, and others who are helping those affected.
Tips for Parents on Media Coverage—In this 2-page tip sheet, the NCTSN explains the effects that media coverage of a violent incident may have on children and teens and suggests ways for parents and other caregivers to help children and teens manage reactions to media coverage and the violent event. The tip sheet also includes tips for families with involvement in a violent incident.
Traumatic Stress Resources
Effects of Traumatic Stress After Mass Violence, Terror, or Disaster—This National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) webpage describes the reactions to disaster that survivors may experience and discusses the potentially severe stress symptoms that may lead to lasting PTSD, anxiety disorders, or depression. Information is also provided on how survivors can reduce their risk of psychological difficulties and recover from disaster stress.
Media Coverage of Traumatic Events: Research on Effects—The National Center for PTSD presents information on the effects of intense media exposure following a disaster. This article describes the association between watching media coverage of traumatic events and stress symptoms.