Mental Health Resources to Cope with Community Unrest

Disaster Distress Helpline
Phone: 800/985-5990  or Text: “TalkWithUs” to 66746

The toll-free Disaster Distress Helpline can provide immediate counseling to anyone who needs help dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic incident. This is a free, confidential, and multilingual crisis support service. Callers and texters are connected to trained and caring professionals from crisis counseling centers in the network. The Helpline staff provides confidential counseling, referrals, and other needed support services.

Disaster Distress Helpline Brochure

The following are resources for behavioral health preparedness, response and recovery.

Many are Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) materials focused on general mental health and substance use-related needs after an incident of violence and civil unrest, as well as separate sections with resources for faith-based communities and spiritual leaders; children, youth, parents and other caregivers, and schools; and disaster responders.

General Disaster Response and Recovery Information
  • Coping With Grief After Community Violence
    This tip sheet introduces some of the signs of grief and anger after an incident of community violence, provides useful information about to how to cope with grief, and offers tips for helping children deal with grief.

  • Tips for Survivors: Coping With Grief After a Disaster or Traumatic Event
    This tip sheet defines grief and discusses ways of coping with grief, explains complicated grief, and offers relevant resources for additional support.

  • Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event: Managing Stress
    This tip sheet gives stress prevention and management tips for dealing with the effects of trauma, mass violence, or terrorism. It lists tips to relieve stress, describes how to know when to seek professional help, and provides accompanying resources. This tip sheet is also available in Spanish. 

  • Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website emphasizes the importance of coping after a disaster, and getting professional help if needed, with reactions that may be difficult and intense. Links are provided to additional information about managing your emotional health as a survivor, supporting your children in coping, and making time for self-care as a disaster responder. This document is also available in Spanish.
Resources for Faith-based Communities and Spiritual Leaders
  • Faith Communities and Disaster Mental Health
    This tip sheet provides information for religious leaders about common stress reactions people may experience in response to a disaster and suggests ways they can cope, and help others cope, with disaster stress reactions. The sheet also provides information on referring people for mental health services.

  • Tips & Lessons—Disaster Response: The Sunday After a Disaster
    This tip sheet from Episcopal Relief & Development offers advice on how to provide community and congregational support after a disaster.

  • Vulnerable Populations & Disaster
    This tip sheet discusses the need for religious leaders to accommodate the needs of vulnerable populations during disaster preparedness and response. The sheet identifies the types of vulnerable populations and illustrates preparedness and response best practices to assist individuals within these populations.     
Resources for Children, Youth, Parents and Other Caregivers, and Schools
  • Understanding Child Trauma
    This web page identifies events that children and youth may experience as traumatic, presents statistics on traumatic experiences and their effects on children and youth, lists signs of traumatic stress in children and youth of various ages, and offers tips for parents and other important adults in the lives of children and youth for helping children and youth to cope with trauma. Links to resources for more information and support are also provided.

  • Age-related Reactions to a Traumatic Event
    This tip sheet provides an overview of how children and adolescents may react to natural and human-caused disasters that they experience as traumatic. It describes reactions typical within specific age ranges and offers tips for parents and other caregivers, school personnel, healthcare practitioners, and community members to help children and adolescents cope.

  • Community Violence: Reactions and Actions in Dangerous Times
    This resource provides information on community violence, how it can affect daily lives, and what to do for support.

  • Helping Youth After Community Trauma: Tips for Educators
    This tip sheet identifies 10 ways in which youth may react to community traumas such as natural or human-caused disasters and suggests ways for educators to respond to these reactions and support youth in coping. It also advises educators to find professional mental health support for youth—and for themselves—as needed. 
Diversity Resources

University of Missouri-St. Louis, Missouri Institute of Mental Health

From the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)


Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)

Prevention Institute

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Washburn Center for Children

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Alive and Well Communities

Health Equity Works

Missouri Wellness: Cultural Competency

Resources for Disaster Responders

Psychological First Aid for First Responders: Tips for Emergency and Disaster Response Workers
This tip sheet provides first responders with information on how to address people for the first time after a disaster and how to calmly communicate and promote safety.

Tips for Disaster Responders: Preventing and Managing Stress
This tip sheet helps disaster response workers prevent and manage stress. It includes strategies to help responders prepare for their assignment, use stress-reducing precautions during the assignment, and manage stress in the recovery phase of the assignment. This tip sheet is also available in Spanish.

Tips for Disaster Responders: Understanding Compassion Fatigue
This tip sheet defines and describes compassion fatigue, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress. It lists signs of compassion fatigue and offers tips for preventing compassion fatigue and coping with it if it occurs, and it notes that responders may also experience positive effects as a result of their work. This tip sheet is also available in Spanish. 

Traumatic Incident Stress: Information for Emergency Response Workers
This CDC fact sheet outlines symptoms of traumatic incident stress and lists activities emergency response workers can do on site and at home to cope with the challenging aspects of disaster response.

Additional Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
A source of support available 24/7 to people in crisis, including challenging reactions to disasters. Call 1–800–273–TALK (1–800–273–8255), or, for support in Spanish, call 1–888–628–9454.

MO DMH Trauma Informed Care