PTSD: National Center for PTSD
Disasters and Terrorism
Disasters and Terrorism
Disasters include human-caused events, such as terrorist attacks, and natural disasters, like floods and tsunamis. This page includes general information about the effects of disasters, reviews of disaster research, and useful resources for care providers.
Essential Information and Guidelines
Mental Health Reactions After Disaster: A Fact Sheet for Providers (PDF)
Provides overview of common reactions and severe stress responses to disaster, including PTSD.
Psychological First Aid: Field Operations Guide
The Psychological First Aid Guide was developed by the National Center for PTSD and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. It has essential information for dealing with people in the immediate aftermath of disasters.
Guidelines for Mental Health Providers' Response to the Events of 9/11/2001
Includes a brief list of recommendations for mental health professionals who work with people seeking treatment immediately after trauma. Guidelines are based on 9/11 events.
Resources for Providers: Responding to Sudden Trauma
Resources to assist mental health providers, clinicians, and disaster responders in the immediate aftermath of sudden disasters.
Mental Health Interventions
Early Mental Health Intervention for Disasters
Discusses factors that influence prevention of problems following disasters, obstacles to help-seeking, early intervention, and basic principles of emergency care, including Psychological First Aid.
Secondary Mental Health Treatment Following Disasters
Discusses follow-up mental health care after disasters, including identifying those at-risk, timing and content of services, and ways to maximize care.
Types of Debriefing Following Disasters
Describes several types of debriefing following a trauma, and discusses the pros and cons of this form of mental health intervention.
Helping Survivors in the Wake of Disaster
Concise information for volunteers, mental health clinicians, chaplains, and medical personnel on the effects of traumatic stress and recommendations for helping survivors of disasters.
Common Reactions to Disaster
Phases of Traumatic Stress Reactions in a Disaster
Describes the three early phases of reactions to disasters and terrorism, including: impact, the immediate post-disaster phase, and recovery.
Managing Grief after Disaster
Clinical advice regarding managing grief after a disaster, including addressing traumatic grief, complications of bereavement, and risk factors.
Research Findings on Disasters and Terrorism
Traumatic Effects of Specific Types of Disasters
Discusses effects of fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes, with research findings on specific major disasters that have occurred.
Effects of Traumatic Stress after Mass Violence, Terror, or Disaster
Discusses normal and problematic responses to disaster. Describes PTSD, ASD, associated problems, and bereavement complications.
Research Findings on the Traumatic Stress Effects of Terrorism
Discusses terrorist attacks that have occurred over the past 20 years and reports some of the research findings on reactions, including PTSD.
Special Concerns: Co-Occurring Conditions
Effects of Disaster on People with Severe Mental Illness
Discusses the relationship between severe mental illness (SMI) and PTSD following a traumatic event. Includes suggestions for mental health needs of those with SMI following trauma.
Disasters and Substance Abuse or Dependence
Reviews research on substance use, abuse, and dependence following disasters.
Special Concerns: Family Issues
Terrorist Attacks and Children
Discusses how children respond to events of terrorism, and tips for what professionals and parents can do.
Disasters and Domestic Violence
Reviews research investigating whether domestic violence (DV) increases after a disaster or if DV influences women's postdisaster recovery.
Web Links: Disaster Relief
Links to information on how to give or obtain help following a disaster.