After the Crisis Initiative: Healing from Trauma after Disasters
Addressing the Traumatic Impact of Disasters on Individuals,
Families, and Communities
This paper represents an overview of four resource papers that were presented at the After the
Crisis: Healing from Trauma after Disasters Expert Panel Meeting
(April 24 – 25, 2006, Bethesda, MD) and additional research.
The After the Crisis Initiative is Co-Sponsored by:
The National GAINS Center for Systemic Change for Justice-Involved Persons and the Center on Women, Violence
and Trauma, through the Center for Mental Health Services, SAMHSA.
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer: The development of this publication was funded under Request for Proposal No.
280-04-0106, entitled: “Center for Evidence Based Programs for Persons in the Justice System” from the
Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center
for Mental Health Services (CMHS), awarded to Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA). The views and opinions
expressed in this publication are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the official position or
policies of PRA’s National GAINS Center or the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).
Trauma and Disaster
Understanding the Impact of Trauma
All disasters, both natural and man-made, carry with them destruction, devastation, stress, and
trauma. The long-term legacy for individuals, families, and communities is dire. While the
immediate focus on survival shifts to rebuilding life, the experienced trauma can linger for
months, years, or even a lifetime. Understanding the impact that trauma may have on an
individual following disaster and how it may be affecting health and wellbeing is important in
the healing process.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and acute stress disorder (ASD) are two conditions that
can be caused by experiencing or witnessing almost any kind of