Trauma and Disaster Mental Health

Both natural and human-generated disasters, which are associated with destruction as well as loss of loved ones and irreplaceable belongings, often overwhelm one's normal coping capacity.

Disasters also tend to stress emotional, cognitive, behavioral, physiological, and religious/spiritual beliefs. In light of this, ACA has assembled the resources below to serve as a base for developing responses to disaster situations.

Become a Disaster Mental Health Volunteer with the American Red Cross.

External Trauma and Disaster Resources
Disaster Mental Health Resources
Sexual Abuse Resources
Sheltering In Place Resource
Trauma-related Articles from Counseling Today

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ACA Disaster Mental Health Resources

The following resources were compiled by the ACA Traumatology Interest Network, facilitated by Karin Jordan. They are a base platform for learning about the skills for dealing with disaster mental health.

Sheltering In Place Resource

Working in conjunction with the American Red Cross and other mental health associations, Stephanie Dailey compiled these guidelines for Sheltering-in-Place. The American Counseling Association wishes to express its gratitude to Ms. Dailey for her time and efforts.

Sheltering-in-Place guidelines (PDF)

Trauma-Related Articles from Counseling Today

The resources in this section are articles from our member magazine, Counseling Today, and its companion website. These articles, written for a primary audience of counselors and mental health practitioners, cover an array of trauma related topics, including school shootings.


The following external resources were compiled by ACA Staff. These can be used as a resource for learning more about disaster mental health or to find assistance when experiencing distress.

National Institute of Health:
Disaster Information Management Research Center
National Institute of Mental Health

University of California, Davis:
Child Reactions to Trauma

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network:
12 Core Concepts for Understanding Traumatic Stress Responses in Children and Families
Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
Warning Signs and Risk Factors for Emotional Distress
Recognizing and Treating Child Traumatic Stress
Disaster Distress Hotline Brochure (PDF)

Sexual Abuse Resources

These resources in this section are primarily intended to for counselors and are associated with identifying, reporting and treating childhood sexual abuse.