March Update from the National Center for PTSD


This Month’s Feature: Responding to Disaster in Japan 2011

Our thoughts and hearts go out to the victims and their families in the aftermath of the recent events in Japan.

Below find materials to help deal with the aftermath of disaster. Some materials are available in Japanese.

The National Center for PTSD’s vision is to be the foremost leader in information on PTSD and trauma. Because of the commonalities between reactions to various traumatic events, in addition to studying PTSD in Veterans,  the Center covers other trauma, including disaster. As a part of VA, the National Center for PTSD has a long history of helping respond in times of national emergency. Given that the NCPTSD has an international presence as a leader in research and education and trauma, we make the following materials available.

Resources for Survivors and the Public, Japan 2011

(Created jointly with the  National Child Traumatic Stress Network.)
Survivor Handouts

These handouts, from the Psychological First Aid manual, cover topics such as what to expect after a disaster, tips for adults, tips for parents dealing with children, and the importance of social supports. (Available in Japanese*PDF)

See also:

The Effects of Disasters

Stress reactions after a disaster are common. Learn about: What makes some people more resilient or at risk of future mental health problems, Media Coverage of Traumatic Events, and more.

Common Reactions

People experience a range of reactions following trauma including anger, nightmares, sleep problems, and more.

Disaster Relief: Web Resource Links

How to give or obtain help following a disaster. Includes links to the International Center for Disaster Information, the Red Cross, and more.

Other Resources

Resources for Providers: Responding to Disasters, Japan 2011

Initial intervention following disaster involves reducing initial distress and offering practical assistance. The resources below will help first responders and mental health providers learn skills in psychological first aid and other useful information about disaster response.

Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide

An evidence-informed modular approach for assisting people in the immediate aftermath of disaster: to reduce initial distress, and to foster short and long-term adaptive functioning. Created jointly with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the guide contains handouts for survivors. (Entire guide available in Japanese.)

Training on PFA
  • This 6 hour interactive course: Psychological First Aid (PFA) Online teaches skills in delivering PFA. It features innovative activities, video demonstrations, and mentor tips from the nation’s trauma experts and survivors.  Translated by the Hyogo Institute for Traumatic Stress in Kobe, Japan.
  • View the PFA Online Videos* and subscribe to PFA Channel.

Additional Resources

Five essential elements of immediate and mid-term mass trauma intervention: Empirical evidence (PDF) by Hobfoll, Watson, Bell, Bryant, Brymer, et al. (2007)

Working with Trauma Survivors: What Workers Need to Know: Information regarding traumatic stress and tips on self-care.

Disaster Rescue and Response Workers: Provides information on managing stress in a disaster situation.

CDC Psychological First Aid in Radiation Disasters: In preparation for potential radiological consequences, this course will increase awareness of the unique psychological consequences of disasters caused by a radiological or nuclear event so that clinical and public health professionals and volunteers will be better prepared to respond to radiation emergencies.

Overview on Disaster and Terrorism

A section of pages on the effects of disasters including Phases of Traumatic Stress Reactions in a Disaster, The Effects of Disaster on People with Severe Mental Illness, Effects of Traumatic Stress after Mass Violence, Terror, or Disaster, and more.

Early Intervention

Treatment in the early stages of a disaster should involve reducing initial distress and offering practical assistance.  Helping Survivors in the Wake of a Disaster, Early Mental Health Interventions for Disasters and follow up services in Secondary Mental Health Treatment Following Disasters.

General Treatment

PTSD and other mental health problems develop in some individuals who experience disaster. Find out more about treatments that work in this section, which includes Recommendations for Pharmacological Treatment of Acute Stress Reactions, as well as Managing Grief After Disaster, and more.

Handouts for Providers

How to give or obtain help following a disaster, including links to the International Center for Disaster Information, the Red Cross, and more.

Disaster Research

Research following disaster is important to help us understand how to best provide support in the aftermath, both immediately and longer term. Find references to articles that are relevant to the disaster at hand. Includes:  Research on the Aftermath of Earthquakes in Japan: A Selective Bibliography (PDF).

Other news

  • Find information for the Press: Responding in the Aftermath of Disaster, Japan 2011
  • NEW: Learn about dealing with trauma on Facebook
  • The National Center for PTSD is pleased to announce the launch of its Facebook page: Information on PTSD.
  • Learn new information on PTSD and trauma, contribute to the Wall, and become a fan.

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