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Robb Elementary School Shootings Response and Recovery Resources

Acts of mass violence, such as the shootings at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas cause extreme disruption within communities. Acts of violence against children are particularly distressing, and their occurrence at locations often thought of as safe havens, such as schools, undermine feelings of safety. Victims, family, friends, first responders, emergency personnel, community leaders are among those affected. Caring for the mental health needs of communities and promoting resilience and recovery requires prompt interventions by educating people on common responses to trauma and the ways this may look different in children, providing guidance on actions to foster individual and family well-being, and ensuring access to timely resources and care when distress persists or other symptoms emerge.

Ideal interventions promote the evidence-based principles of Psychological First Aid (PFA), including: safety calming, self- and community-efficacy, social connectedness, and a sense of hope/optimism. Information relevant to this event and links to brief, easy to read, action-oriented education fact sheets are provided below.

Common Responses to Disaster

Grief: Understanding and Managing

Workplace and Organization Support

Special Populations at Increased Risk

Health Risk and Crisis Communication


Common responses immediately after disasters include distress reactions (e.g. insomnia, irritability, loss of perception of safety, social isolation, blaming and scapegoating) and health risk behaviors (e.g. increased use of alcohol and tobacco, over-dedication to tasks, and reduced self-care). For supervisors, leaders, family members, and healthcare personnel, being alert to these reactions and behaviors, promptly identifying them, and providing interventions can reduce distress and improve functioning and may decrease the likelihood of developing mental disorders. Normalizing the reactions and offering guidance about what to expect with symptoms over time, as well as when and where to get assistance if needed, helps people feel calm and increases self-reliance. The following resource(s) address this topic in further detail:

FACT SHEET: How Schools Can Help Students

HOJA DE DATOS: Ayuda para estudiantes después de un desastre

FACT SHEETS: How Families Can Help Children

HOJA DE DATOS: Restablecimiento de la sensación de bienestar en los niños después de un desastre

FACT SHEET: Managing the Stress of Children After a Disaster

HOJA DE DATOS: Gestionar el estrés de los niños después de un desastre

FACT SHEET: Helping Communities and Families After Disasters

FACT SHEET: Coping with Stress Following a Mass Shooting

HOJA DE DATOS: Cómo sobrellevar el estrés después de un tiroteo masivo


Grief is a near universal experience for those directly impacted by mass violence. Many will grieve loss of feelings of safety, control, and life routines. Kindness, caring, and listening are important ways to support family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Anxiety about the future is best managed through problem-solving and helping people get connected with support resources and healthcare if needed. Being sensitive to the need for rituals, such as memorial and funerals that support expressions of grief, facilitates healing, which ultimately strengthen communities. Grief leadership involves anticipating feelings of loss, supporting people in mourning losses, and helping address fears about the future. The following resource(s) address this topic in further detail:

FACT SHEET: Helping People After a Loss

HOJA DE DATOS: Ayuda Para Las Personas Después De Una Pérdida

FACT SHEET: Grief Leadership in the Wake of Tragedies

HOJA DE DATOS: Liderazgo ante el duelo: Cómo dirigir tras una tragedia

FACT SHEET: Leadership in Disasters & Lessons Learned

HOJA DE DATOS: Liderazgo en casos de desastres


Workplace and organization management following mass violence in a work setting is an important part of restoring operational functioning. In addition to financial support, workplaces and organizations often provides a sense of meaning and social connectedness to those who work there. Effective support for personnel can enhance functioning for both the individuals and, more broadly, the affected workplace or organization. Caution should be taken to avoid overworking remaining employees in the workplace. Allowing for grief and loss through ritual and memorials enhances healing and recovery. The following resource(s) address this topic in further detail:

FACT SHEET: Helping Military Personnel Exposed to Work Trauma

FACT SHEET: Workplace and Organization Management After Disaster

HOJA DE DATOS: Manejo de una organización o lugar de trabajo después de una crisis

FACT SHEET: Recovery After Workplace Mass Violence: Guidance for Supervisors

HOJA DE DATOS: Recuperación después de la violencia en el trabajo: guía para supervisores

FACT SHEET: Recovery After Workplace Mass Violence: Guidance for Workers

HOJA DE DATOS: Recuperación después de la violencia en el trabajo: Guía para trabajadores


Special populations may be more vulnerable than others and warrant unique considerations. Such populations include: new or junior personnel, individuals with limited social support; first responders and public health emergency workers (including volunteers), individuals with active pre-existing mental health conditions; children, pregnant and post-partum women; people with limited financial resources, and persons with cognitive or mobility impairment. Marginalized groups may be reluctant to use government resources for fear of negative reactions or legal consequences, which limits their access to helping services. Focused interventions can more quickly and effectively address the unique needs of these populations. The following resource(s) address this topic in further detail:

FACT SHEET: Supporting Those with Mental Illness After Disaster

HOJA DE DATOS: Cómo abordar las necesidades de las personas con enfermedades
mentales graves en un desastre

FACT SHEET: First Responders, Emergency Workers & Volunteers and Exposure to Human Remains

HOJA DE DATOS: Información para los proveedores de servicios de emergencia sobre las reacciones emocionales a los cuerpos humanos en muertes masivas

FACT SHEET: Maintaining the Well-Being of Healthcare Providers


Risk and crisis communication is a critical behavioral health intervention that aids community recovery. For Leaders overseeing response to mass violence and other disaster events, understanding what to say and what not to say, and when and how to say it are important elements. Basic principles include being clear and succinct; stating what is known and unknown; indicating when you don’t know the answer, committing to following up at a specific time, and then doing so; and avoiding lying or being overly reassuring as this erodes trust. Effective communication following a disaster can reduce distress and enhance well-being for affected communities. It also increases participation of community members in helpful post-disaster response and recovery behaviors. The following resource(s) address this topic in further detail:

FACT SHEET: Leadership Communication During Crisis

HOJA DE DATOS: Comunicación del liderazgo: Prever y responder a eventos estresantes


Additional detailed resources can further knowledge about effective preparedness, response, and recovery measures. Some are brief while others are more detailed. Working with more detailed resources, such as books or online training, during an actual disaster response is not typically feasible. These more in-depth treatments of key topics may be helpful as the initial response slows and serve to inform later response and recovery efforts as well as enhance preparedness for future events. Links to additional websites, fact sheets, articles, training, and books can be found below:

Additional free fact sheet resources at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress

Disaster Psychiatry; What Psychiatrists Need to Know (A. T. Ng)

Textbook of Disaster Psychiatry, 2nd Edition

Disaster Psychiatry (F Stoddard)

Resiliency in the Face of Disaster and Terrorism (V. A. Kehayan, J. J. Napoli)

Integrating Emergency Management and Disaster Behavioral Health

Disaster Psychiatry Handbook

Psychiatric Dimensions of Disaster Online Training (Disaster Psychiatry Canada)

Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism (SAMHSA)


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