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Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism: A Training Manual

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2004
192 pages

This training manual provides guidance for developing and implementing training that will prepare mental health and crime-victim service providers with the knowledge and skill to help victims, survivors, and the community-at-large cope with and recover from terrorist and other events that involve mass violence.


One chapter describes the characteristics of disaster events that are likely to result in serious and long-lasting psychological effects for those impacted by it. This is followed by a chapter that describes individual and community-based mental health interventions that can assist service providers in dealing with those affected by such disasters. A third chapter provides an overview of the incident command system likely to be established in response to a disaster, along with the roles, jurisdiction, and responsibilities of the key responding organizations. The mental health response supports the primary emergency response agencies in authority. Another chapter describes sources of mental health responder stress, including environmental and individual factors. The manual then turns toward practical steps in developing a training program, including who should be involved as trainees and instructors. A chapter presents a comprehensive training course outline that contains nine modules with objectives, materials, procedures, and duration. Suggested topics include the characteristics of and psychological impact of criminal mass victimization; organizational response and mental health roles; children's and adolescents' reactions and interventions; considerations and interventions for cultural and ethnic groups; and stress prevention, management, and intervention. The concluding chapter suggests additional training needs and options. 4 figures, 5 tables, 131 references, and a list of Internet sites

Date Published: January 1, 2004