(from the SAMHSA/CMHS Consumer E-news Listserv)
After the Crisis Initiative: Healing from Trauma after Disasters
After the Crisis is a collaborative initiative between the National GAINS Center at Policy Research Associates (PRA) and National Center for Trauma Informed Care (NCTIC). The initiative is supported in part by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), as well as through the tremendous dedication of its members who have volunteered countless time and resources toward achieving the goals of the initiative.
The urgent need for the After the Crisis initiative was most recently highlighted by the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in communities all along the Gulf Coast. The key activities of the initiative are focused on the development of technical assistance strategies and support networks that are dedicated to addressing the long term mental health and trauma needs of disaster survivors.
The initiative’s network is comprised of a broad array of experts, many of whom are trauma survivors and have had personal experience with disaster in their communities. Collectively, membership of the initiative includes representatives from the community, state and national levels, including:
· Trauma survivors
· Consumers, consumer advocates and family members
· Program directors and administrators
· Local, state and federal government officials
· Advocacy groups
· Criminal justice system professionals
· Mental health system professionals
· Community leaders and stakeholders
Many people in communities across the country have histories of trauma, as well as a serious mental illness and/or substance abuse problems. This is especially true for those individuals who are served by the public mental health and correctional systems. For anyone affected by a major disaster, its effects can be emotionally and psychologically devastating. Even for people who have never before experienced a severe trauma; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety reactions, increased substance abuse, and many other reactions are common. For those individuals who have a history of trauma, the cumulative impact of trauma in their lives leaves them even more susceptible to the psychological impact of a major community disaster, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
We believe that providers in the behavioral health and criminal justice systems need to know how to identify and respond to the traumatization and retraumatization that can happen after a major disaster. With so many survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita still struggling with the trauma inflicted by the storm, as well as with disconnection and alienation from their neighborhoods and communities, it is our mission to:
1. educate and organize constituents committed to developing national, state, and local readiness and capacity to begin to integrate the principles and practices of emerging, peer-run disaster response programs for people with mental health, criminal justice and/or previous abuse histories into mainstream disaster response efforts;
2. address what we know about how individuals respond to traumatic experiences, setting the stage for planning and organizing a more effective collective response to future disasters;
3. develop practical recommendations, strategies and program concepts for providing technical assistance to states, communities and individuals following disaster; and
4. expand the knowledge base by stimulating state and local partnerships among a variety of both public and private organizations, foundations, and constituent groups.
For more information please choose from the following options:
· After the Crisis initiative goals and key concepts (PDF)
· After the Crisis Community Mobilization Committee
· Peer Support/Response Committee
· Please email After the Crisis for more information or to become an initiative member.
Kathryn Wyeth, MDRC
"With Liberty and Access for All!"
MDRC Website: http://www.copower.org/