Psychological Response to Disaster

If you were involved in a disaster such as a severe weather, flood, or even terrorism, or another traumatic event like a car crash or gun violence, you may be affected personally regardless of whether you were hurt or lost a loved one. You can be affected just by witnessing a disaster or other traumatic event. It is common to show signs of stress after exposure to a disaster or other traumatic event, and it is important to monitor your physical and emotional health.

  • Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event
    (English (PDF)) (Spanish (PDF))
  • Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth After A Disaster or Community Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers
    (English (PDF)) (Spanish (PDF))

Key Concepts to Remember for Recovery

  • Stress and grief are normal reactions to an abnormal situation
  • Social support systems (family, friends, etc.) are crucial to recovery
  • Everyone recovers in their own way, and at their own pace
  • Professional help is available for those who need it

Disaster Distress Helpline

The Disaster Distress Helpline is a national hotline operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration dedicated to providing year-round immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. It is a toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Last Revised: August 14, 2017