Tools and Resources for the Provision of Health, Support, and Community Services

SAMHSA's 2017 research bulletin on Mass Violence and Behavioral Health is a guide to mental health symptoms, treatments, and interventions; it also covers mental health and care in the immediate aftermath of an attack (SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center, 2017).

The FBI and NTSB provide a manual on Family Assistance Centers. This manual includes a discussion of medium- and longer-term assistance services (FBI Office for Victim Assistance and NTSB Transportation Disaster Assistance Division, undated).

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) provides resources on understanding PTSD symptoms, treatment options, and how to get assistance (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, undated a).

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network's Terrorism and Violence webpage provides resources for children and families following mass attacks (National Child Traumatic Stress Network, undated b).

For First Responders

After a critical incident, first responders are often concerned about how they reacted physiologically and emotionally and whether these reactions are "normal." Post-incident interventions, therefore, should remain focused on education, as this reassurance reduces worry, anxiety, and negative self-assessment. Much of the time, normalization and education on the impact of acute stress on the body, ways to stay resilient, and where to seek support afford sufficient assistance to individuals for strengthening their coping abilities.

"Supporting the Psychological Recovery of First Responders Following a Mass Casualty Event" (Nicoletti, Garrido, and Kirschner, 2016, p. 44)

The aforementioned National Center for PTSD includes a webpage that is specifically for rescue and response personnel at disasters (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, undated b).

Furthermore, exposure to critical incidents can increase risk of suicide, which has been documented in prior research and highlighted by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Education Development Center, and National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (2020). Additional resources are available through the National Suicide Awareness for Law Enforcement Officers Program initiative (undated).

PERF's Post-Critical Incident page provides guidance on debriefs (PERF, undated d).

Next Page in the Post-Attack Phase

Longer-Term Recognition and Learning