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Boston Marathon Tragedy - Providing Psychological First Aid to those Affected

Monday, April 22, 2013
Tips for responding effectively after a disaster

Washington, DC- The graphic nature of the recent attack at the Boston Marathon may be difficult for some to manage.  In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, it is not uncommon to notice some anxiety and fear[PDF].

These are normal reactions to abnormal times. Understanding stress reactions, strategies to relieve stress[PDF] and tips for emotional health and coping[PDF] may address initial concerns.

If you continue to experience disturbing distress related to a tragedy and would like to talk with a mental health counselor, call the 24/7 Access Helpline at 1-888-793-4357. Or, go to to learn about available mental health services.

Knowing the signs of stress[PDF] common for young people can also help parents and other caregivers respond positively. The Department of Mental Health also operates an emergency mobile crisis services to provide mental health supports for children and youth. If you need help, call (202) 481-1450.  

Additional Resources
The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers the following support:

Crisis Counseling via Phone or Text
The toll-free Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, can provide immediate counseling to anyone who needs help in dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy. This free, confidential, and multilingual crisis support service also is available via SMS—text "TalkWithUs" to 66746. Callers and texters are connected to trained and caring professionals who provide confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services.

Get the Disaster Response Kit
This mental health awareness toolkit provides first responders—whether they are disaster response workers, parents, caregivers or teachers—with specific tips for responding effectively to people in the wake of a disaster. The information is meant to help alleviate painful emotions and promote hope and healing.