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Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism: A Field Guide

NCJ Number
Date Published
38 pages

This guide is intended for service providers and professionals in the mental health field providing the basics in responding and assisting those victims and families during the aftermath of mass violence and terrorism.


Human-caused events such as acts of terrorism are deliberately planned and perpetrated for many reasons. Those confronted with life threats, mass casualties, overwhelming terror, and human suffering may experience severe psychological stress and trauma. These traumatic realities also impact those responding in various capacities. This field guide provides essential information about survivors’ and family members’ reactions and needs. It describes basic helping skills with indicators for when to refer someone to a licensed mental health professional. The field guide draws from other materials and highlights practical approaches. The guide begins by presenting the key principles for mental health intervention, followed by the immediate needs of survivors and families, psychological first aid and counseling skills, when to refer survivors for mental health services, identifying populations with special needs, and stress prevention, management, and intervention. 3 Tables

Date Published: January 1, 2005