Emergency Preparedness Toolkit: Post-Event Trauma

The AFT cares about the well-being and health of our members and the communities they serve. Disaster can strike anywhere, and no one should feel they have to go it alone. Here are some easily accessible resources to help educators, health professionals, and those in public service talk to children and parents in the aftermath of a disaster. You will also find easy-to-access public mental health resources that can ease the burden of recovering from an unspeakable event. These resources are here for you and the people you serve. Please use them as part of your personal healing process and as a set of tools to help others heal as well. 

Free online resources from Share My Lesson

Child upset
Schools are often the most important places in a community for educators, students and parents to receive support when a crisis occurs; our schools provide a familiar environment where the needs of students, their families and faculty can be met in one place. We believe it is best left to the discretion of teachers and parents when it comes to speaking to students about the news. For those who choose to do so, you may find the following resources helpful:

Additional resources

The following webpages contain resources for supporting the mental and emotional health needs of children and families before, during and after a disaster. Resources may be helpful to families, community planners and child care partners, or healthcare system partners. 

Disaster behavioral health resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

American Psychological Association—Scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the U.S. 

CDC Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage with trauma and disaster mental health resources. 

FEMA Helping Children Cope with Disaster—This site offers parents, caregivers and other adults suggestions on how to help children cope with the effects of disaster.

National Association of School Psychologists—Association that supports school psychologists to enhance the learning and mental health of all children and youth. The site contains information for parents and educators on coping with crisis and disasters.

National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement—The center aims to promote an appreciation of the role that schools can play in supporting students, staff, and families at times of crisis and loss.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network was established to improve access to care, treatment and services for children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events. The site contains resources for parents and caregivers, schools, policymakers, professionals and the media. Check out the resources under "Trauma Types" for natural disasters and terrorism. 

Promoting Adjustment and Helping Children Cope—This American Academy of Pediatrics webpage offers resources for providing psychological support to help ensure that healthcare facilities, medical providers and adults who may be in a position to help are prepared to meet the emotional needs of children and help to mitigate mental health consequences of disasters. 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—Disaster Behavioral Health Preparedness and Response Resources. The SAMHSA webpage provides disaster preparedness and recovery resources for professionals who assist individuals and communities in coping with disaster; it includes resources for children as a population group.

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