Each year thousands of people are injured due to a disaster. This may be a tornado, hurricane, floods, fire, or man-made disasters such as those resulting from the Gulf Oil Spill. These disasters can leave entire communities traumatized and countless individuals with mental health care needs as a result. Lessons learned from the past disasters have taught us that being prepared and following through on a disaster plan can make a difference in quality of life and even survival. Consumers of mental health services face additional challenges, as they attempt to respond and recover while addressing the many issues posed by service needs such as getting the right medication, keeping their environment safe, or managing new behaviors that arise out of chaos. Through careful planning and preparation, consumers will have a greater chance of survival and higher quality of life in the event a disaster strikes their area. The Café TAC will provide links, information, tools, and training on disaster planning and recovery for consumers of mental health services, providers, and community first responders.
CAFE TAC Resources
Focus 27: Disaster Preparedness
Disaster Planning for Persons with Mental Health Needs – This paper includes information on how to prepare for any type of disaster, and what to consider when planning to meet your mental health needs in an emergency.
Focus 8: Disaster Preparedness: Are We Ready?
Disaster Planning for Consumers of Mental Health Services – Everyone needs to be prepared for potential disasters, and have a plan in place so they are ready to react. For individuals with mental health needs, it is especially important to be ready for any kind of disaster, be it natural, man-made, anticipated or sudden.
Emergency and Disaster Preparation for People with Psychiatric Disabilities – http://cafetacenter.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Preparingfordisastersv62011.pdf – Our partners at the Peerlink Technical Assistance Center in Oregon created this disaster and emergency preparedness handbook specifically for persons with psychiatric disabilities.
Florida Family Disaster Planning – Florida Division of Emergency Management – http://www.floridadisaster.org – This website contains valuable information about how Florida residents and visitors to the state can prepare for disasters and how citizens can become more involved in the community.
SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) – http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/ – Established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) supports SAMHSA’s efforts to prepare States, Territories, Tribes, and local entities to deliver an effective mental health and substance abuse (behavioral health) response to disasters.
People with Serious Mental Illness through Times of Disaster: A Focus on Caregivers – The New Jersey Center for Public Health Preparedness at UMNDJ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEYKyCJLbJM – An online video and accompanying guide to educate professionals who care for persons with serious mental illness about planning, preparation and responding to intentional and unintentional disasters and public health emergencies.
American Red Cross – http://www.redcross.org/ – The American Red Cross has been the nation’s premier emergency response organization. As part of a worldwide movement that offers neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war, the American Red Cross distinguishes itself by also aiding victims of devastating natural disasters. Over the years, the organization has expanded its services, always with the aim of preventing and relieving suffering.