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.

Quick Links for Trauma Resources


All counselors need to be ready to provide exceptional mental health and wellness services in the current world context. The White House Office of the Press Secretary (2022) has released a statement indicating that the United States expects to welcome as many as 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia’s aggression.

As part of our mission to promote the professional development of counselors and our commitment to ensuring that every individual has access to quality professional counseling, the following resources have been compiled in support of the Ukrainian people and all those affected by the ongoing war in that region. These resources support counselors’ ethical and professional responsibility to provide culturally competent services to Ukrainians and other immigrants and refugees displaced by the war.

This information was created collaboratively by the staff at the Knowledge Center of the American Counseling Association and Dr. Joshua Kreimeyer with the International Association for Resilience and Trauma Counseling (IARTC), an organizational affiliate with the ACA. These resources will be updated as new content becomes available.

War in Ukraine: Counseling and Mental Health Resources (PDF)

Other Counseling and Mental Health Related Resources
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
The Center for Victims of Torture

Other Ukraine Support Resources
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA’S)
Razom for Ukraine
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP)

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.


Disaster Mental Health Counseling: A Guide to Preparing and Responding, Fourth Edition
edited by Jane M. Webber and J. Barry Mascari
This timely book provides current research and skill-building information on Disaster Mental Health Counseling for counselors, educators, students, and mental health responders in agencies, schools, universities, and private practice. Recognized experts in the field detail effective clinical interventions with survivors in the immediate, intermediate, and long-term aftermath of traumatic events. 

This extensively revised edition, which meets 2016 CACREP Standards for disaster and trauma competencies, is divided into three sections: Disaster Mental Health Counseling Foundations, Disaster and Trauma Response in the Community, and Disasters and Mass Violence at Schools and Universities. Real-world responses to violence and tragedies among diverse populations in a variety of settings are presented, and responders share their personal stories and vital lessons learned through an "In Our Own Words" feature. Each chapter contains discussion questions and case studies are interwoven throughout the text.

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:
All NCTSN Resources
A comprehensive list of resources on child trauma developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
Warning Signs and Risk Factors for Emotional Distress
Recognizing and Treating Child Traumatic Stress
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress Hotline 
The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline provides 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors for people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. This toll-free, multilingual and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.
Disaster Distress Hotline Brochure (PDF)

Contact the hotline by phone:
Call 800-985-5990
For TTY/hearing impaired access, call 800-846-8517

Contact the hotline by text:
Text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746
Spanish speakers: Text ‘Hablanos’ to 66746

Online access to hotline information:


The ACA Center for Counseling Practice, Policy, and Research offers Practice Briefs for ACA members. Practice Briefs, written by scholars in the counseling profession, are research-based summaries of best practices, evidence-based practices, and research-based approaches covering a wide variety of client-presenting issues and counseling topics. Each Practice Brief is several pages in length, includes references, and has been peer-reviewed by two co-editors before being accepted for publication. The Practice Briefs available to members include:

Practice Brief: Grief and Loss

Practice Brief: Death and Dying Issues

Practice Brief: Complex Trauma and Associated Diagnoses

Practice Brief: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Practice Brief: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Youth

Practice Brief: Non-Suicidal Self-Injury 12/2013

Practice Brief: Intimate Partner Violence - Treating Victims 12/2013

Practice Brief: Intimate Partner Violence - Treating Child Witnesses 12/2013

Practice Brief: Intimate Partner Violence - Treating Battering Perpetrators 12/2013

Practice Brief: Complex Trauma and Associated Diagnoses 12/2013

Practice Brief: Adult Child Sexual Abuse Survivors - 12/2013

Practice Brief: Childhood Sexual Abuse: Treating Children

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