In response to the horrific incident at Sandy Hook, IDMH developed these tipsheets to assist anyone who needs guidance on helping their children or taking care of themselves. Please feel free to share them with anyone who could use them.
- Help for the Helpers: Caring for Yourself when Assisting Others
- Helping Children Cope: Tips for Parents and Caregivers
The following list includes organizations and agencies that disaster mental health helpers may encounter in their professional work. Also, these links provide additional information on resources and treatments relating to disaster mental health.
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
DHHS is the government agency responsible for protecting the health of all Americans. Responsibilities include public health, biomedical research, Medicare and Medicaid, welfare, social services, and more.200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington DC, 20201
DHHS information about disasters and traumatic events can be found here:
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
The VA provides benefits and services to veterans and their dependents, including medical and mental health-care assistance. Local facilities nationwide can be located at
The VA also operates the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, whose mission is to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America’s veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders. Its website offers information and other resources concerning PTSD:
Disaster Help is a government-operated portal site which combines the disaster management resources of multiple federal agencies, in order to assist victims of disasters in locating the information and services they need. The website offers a multitude of resources and information:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is the primary government organization in charge of disaster preparation and response. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA’s general contact information is
500 C Street SW
Washington, DC 20472
More specific contact information can be found at
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
NIMH, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to reduce the burden of mental illness and behavioral disorders through research on mind, brain, and behavior. The Institute conducts and disseminates research on numerous aspects of mental health, including the impact of trauma and disasters.
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA has a host of information of forecasts, warnings, and information about hurricanes, floods, blizzards, and other weather-related disasters.
U.S. Department of Justice: Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)
The OVC is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. It provides leadership and funding on behalf of crime victims, including victims of terrorism and mass violence.
810 7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20531
State Offices of Emergency Management (SOEMs)
SOEMs are the state-level agencies that provide government response to disasters. A complete listing of contact information for specific state offices and agencies of emergency management, as well as state emergency managers’ e-mail addresses, can be found at
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA provides information about various aspects of mental health and substance-abuse issues for providers, consumers, and the media. Two departments may be particularly helpful for DMH helpers:
Center for Mental Health Services
Emergency Mental Health and Traumatic Stress Services Branch
1 Choke Cherry Road, Sixth Floor
Rockville, MD 20850
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Technical Assistance Center
4350 East West Highway, Suite 1100
Bethesda, MD 20814
American Red Cross
Since 1905 the American Red Cross has been mandated by the U.S. Congress to respond to disasters across the nation, providing shelter, food, and health and mental health services to address basic human needs.
American Red Cross National Headquarters
2025 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Local Chapters can be located at:
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, or exclusion from health care in more than 70 countries.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
The IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, providing relief assistance for international emergencies regardless of recipients’ nationality, race, religious beliefs, class, or political opinions.
National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities
The National Clearinghouse for Education Facilities provides information and resources on building or retrofitting schools to withstand natural disasters and terrorism, developing emergency preparedness plans, and using school buildings to shelter community members during emergencies.
National Organization on Disability’s Emergency Preparedness for People With Disabilities
The National Organization on Disability offers resources and advice on assisting people with disabilities during disasters for emergency managers, planners, and responders.
Pan America Health Organization (PAHO)
PAHO has 35 member governments in the Western Hemisphere. It also serves as the regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO). PAHO/WHO works through the Ministries of Health and in the area of disaster reduction, with the health sector disaster programs in these ministries. The health sector includes security systems, the Red Cross, private medical services, nongovernment organizations, and others, who are also included in technical cooperation activities.
525 23rd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Petfinder is an online search database of animals that need homes. It is also a directory of over 9000 animal shelters and adoption organizations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, works internationally to protect the rights and development of children, including children affected by disasters. UNICEF headquarters can be contacted at
3 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Contact information for other international branches can be found at
World Health Organization (WHO)
WHO, a United Nations agency, works internationally to decrease disease or infirmity and to improve physical, mental, and social well-being.
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Geneva 27
Phone: +41 22 791 21 11
Fax: +41 22 791 3111
Other Disaster Mental Health Resources
American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers advice on disaster preparedness and response as applied to the specific needs of children, including materials for teachers, parents, and community planners.
American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association is a medical specialty society with more than 35,000 member-physicians who work together to ensure humane care and effective treatment for all persons with mental disorders.
Disaster-specific information can be found at
American Psychological Association (APA)
The APA is a 150,000-member scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States.
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 800-374-2721 or 202-336-5500
The Disaster Response Network is a pro-bono service of the APA and its membership that provides information on identifying and managing traumatic stress. Information about the Disaster Response Network can be found at
International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. (ICISF)
ICISF is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to the prevention and mitigation of disabling stress through the provision of education, training, and support services for emergency services professionals.
International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS)
ISTSS is an international multidisciplinary, professional membership organization that was founded in 1985 to promote advancement and exchange of knowledge about severe stress and trauma and to advocate for the field of traumatic stress.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
NASW, the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies.
750 First Street, NE, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20002-4241
National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
NBCC is an independent, nonprofit credentialing body for counselors. It maintains a register of certified counselors. The Disaster Relief Resources links counselors with the American Red Cross for training and volunteer work. It also maintains a register of counselors willing to provide pro-bono counseling following a disaster.
National Board for Certified Counselors
Disaster Relief Resources
3 Terrace Way, Suite D
Greensboro, NC 27403-3660
National Association for School Psychologists (NASP)
The NASP represents school psychology and the provision of mental health and educational services for all schoolchildren.
National Association for School Psychologists
4340 East West Highway, Suite 402
Bethesda, MD 20814
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD)
NVOAD coordinates planning efforts by many voluntary organizations responding to disaster in order to avoid duplication and to provide more effective service when disasters strike.
PO Box 151973
Alexandria, VA 22315
Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center
The Natural Hazards Center, which is operated by the University of Colorado, works to advance and communicate knowledge on hazards mitigation and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery among researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. The center also supports and conducts research and provides educational opportunities concerning disasters and other hazards.
Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies at Weill Cornell Medical College
The Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies is a program under Weill Cornell Medical College’s Department of Psychiatry. This program has implemented innovative, evidence-based practices to victims of trauma. This program offers information about innovations in treatment and resources for anxiety and traumatic stress.
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
525 East 68th Street
New York, NY 10021
Sojourner Truth Library at SUNY New Paltz: Disaster Studies Resources
Sojourner Truth Library at SUNY New Paltz has compiled a comprehensive list of helpful references that cover many important areas for understanding disasters and how they effect people in its path. Resources are identified for important areas, including: Human rights, politics and international relations, poverty, mental health, race and ethnic relations, recovery and response, refugee and disaster relief, social service, terrorism, transcultural communication and care, and warfare and conflict.
University of South Dakota Disaster Mental Health Institute
The University of South Dakota supports the Disaster Mental Health Institute (DMHI). DMHI works to promote, develop, and apply practice and research in disaster mental health. DMHI offer many training programs for responders, including programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals.
The University of South Dakota- SDU 114
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069-2390
Phone 2: 800-522-9684