Skip to main content

Mental Health Update

June 1, 2020
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 6/1/20- On behalf of SAMHSA Region II: SAMHSA Resources for the Civil Unrest in Minneapolis and in Region II

I am writing to you regarding the incident of violence and civil unrest occurring in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our thoughts go out to survivors, those who are responding to the incident, and everyone witnessing this event. As disaster behavioral health professionals continue to respond, I wanted to send you some materials from our resource library that might be helpful during the immediate phase of response.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supports preparedness efforts by states, U.S. territories, Tribes, and local entities to deliver an effective mental health and substance use-related response to disasters. SAMHSA helps states and communities with disaster mental health and substance use (disaster behavioral health) preparedness and response issues directly, as well as through the SAMHSA Technology Transfer Centers (TTCs) and the SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC).

The purpose of the SAMHSA-funded TTCs is to develop and strengthen the specialized behavioral healthcare and primary healthcare workforce that provides prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness. The TTC program is comprised of three networks: the Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTC), the Mental Health Technology Transfer Centers (MHTTC), and the Prevention Technology Transfer Centers (PTTC). For more information about the SAMHSA TTCs, please visit

SAMHSA DTAC provides materials, training, and technical assistance to the entire United States, its territories, and federally recognized tribes for all-hazards disaster behavioral health preparedness, response, and recovery. For more information about our services, please visit our website at can also contact SAMHSA DTAC by emailing or calling the toll-free hotline at 1–800–308–3515.

The following list of materials includes those 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


  • Tips for Survivors: Coping With Grief After a Disaster or Traumatic Event—In this tip sheet, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) defines and describes grief, discusses ways of coping with grief, explains complicated grief, and offers relevant resources for additional support.



  • Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event—At this web page, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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. information is available in Spanish at


Resources for Faith-based Communities and Spiritual Leaders

  • Faith Communities and Disaster Mental Health—This NDIN 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—In this information and tip sheet, the NCTSN 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 from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) 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—In this 1-page tip sheet, the NCTSN 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. The tip sheet also advises educators to find professional mental health support for youth—and for themselves—as needed. 


Resources for Disaster Responders




  • Traumatic Incident Stress: Information for Emergency Response WorkersThis 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 Resource for Acute Needs

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline—Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 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.

A traumatic event such as this is unexpected and often brings out strong emotions. People can call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline’s toll-free number (1–800–985–5990) and receive immediate counseling. This free, confidential, and multilingual crisis support service is also available via SMS (text TalkWithUs to 66746) to anyone experiencing psychological distress as a result of this event. People who call and text are connected to trained and caring professionals from crisis counseling centers in the network. Helpline staff provide confidential counseling, referrals, and other needed support services.

The SAMHSA Disaster App allows disaster behavioral health responders to navigate resources related to pre-deployment preparation, on-the-ground assistance, and post-deployment resources.  Users can also share resources from the app via text message or email and quickly identify local mental health and substance use disorder treatment services.

Should you have further questions, please feel free to contact us directly:

Karina Aguilar 202-329-1724

Dennis Romero (212) 264-0250

You may also reach a technical assistance specialist at SAMHSA DTAC by calling 1–800–308–3515 or emailing


Thank you,

CDR Karina D. Aguilar

Assistant Regional Administrator
Office of the Assistant Secretary (OAS)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) – DHHS Region II
Jacob Javits Federal Building
26 Federal Plaza, Suite 3337
New York, NY 10278
Phone: 212-264-0251  Cell: 202-329-1724