What is the mission of your
The mission of the Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is to reduce
the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
What is the role of your organization in a public health
SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services that leads public health efforts to advance the health of the
nation and to improve the lives of individuals living with mental and substance
use disorders and their families.
SAMHSA’s Disaster Behavioral Health (DBH) Program provides disaster
response expertise and technical assistance to aid victims, responders,
and mental health providers. In support of that role, DBH develops innovative
tools and technologies for disaster training, toolkits, and resources to
communities, and disseminates them to federal partners and other
Through an interagency agreement, the Emergency Mental Health and
Traumatic Stress Services Branch of the SAMSHA Center for Mental Health
Services works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide
technical assistance, consultation, and training for state and local
mental health personnel. The Crisis Counseling
Assistance and Training Program (CCP) is a short-term disaster
relief grant for states, U.S. territories, and federally recognized
tribes. CCP grants are awarded after a presidential disaster declaration.
CCP funding supports community-based outreach, counseling, and other
mental health services to survivors of natural and human-caused disasters.
How do you plan for emergencies?
Successful response to and recovery from a disaster is greatly enhanced by
having an emergency preparedness plan with a behavioral health component.
You can find resources to assist with all aspects of disaster
behavioral health planning on the SAMHSA website. These include
the Promising Practices webcast series, which is available to assist DBH
planners with drafting a comprehensive behavioral health emergency
What is one experience or lesson learned that you have from an
Most disaster survivors are resilient and will recover with no additional
assistance. However, some people may need additional help during the
recovery process. Certain groups or populations may be at greater risk for
developing severe reactions to a disaster or traumatic event. For more
information or additional help in recovering, visit the SAMHSA Disaster
Distress Helpline webpage on warning signs and
risk factors for emotional distress.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other EPIC
Disasters, both natural and human-caused, affect people and communities in
different ways. As you begin to rebuild and recover, remember that
disaster survivors may show physical and emotional signs of stress, and
disasters may affect them financially. Sadness, grief, and anger are just
some of the common emotions survivors may experience. Reactions to the
disaster may occur not only in people with direct experience of a
disaster, but also in those who were indirectly affected through repeated
exposure to media coverage of the incident.