A free smartphone application created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) makes it easier for behavioral health responders to focus on disaster survivors by providing them quick access to resources for getting help.
The SAMHSA Disaster App was designed to meet the needs of disaster responders. It was developed with input from experts from across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, and state health departments. The app is available for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry users.
From pre-deployment resources to on-the-ground assistance and post-deployment support, the Disaster App’s content offers users the ability to:
Search for and map nearby mental health and substance use treatment facilities.
Review training materials on a variety of topics from disaster counseling basics to stress prevention.
Share content with survivors directly from the app via email or text message, without revealing personal contact information.
Access pre-downloaded publications and stored treatment facility locations, in the event of limited cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.
“SAMHSA’s Disaster App gives behavioral health responders the resources they need -- when and where they need them,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “The SAMHSA Disaster App helps simplify ways to provide quality support for first responders and survivors facing any type of disaster scenario.”
The SAMHSA Disaster App is based on SAMHSA’s hardcopy
which is a go-to resource for disaster response information. Since the kit’s launch in 2010, more than 56,000 copies have been shipped nationwide. The mobile application allows ready access to the kit’s content, reduces printing and shipping costs, and literally lightens a responder’s load by eliminating paper materials.
“The app has been very helpful for behavioral health responders out in the field who need to share information with survivors,” said Elizabeth Whipkey, a crisis counselor in
Oologah, Oklahoma. “Survivors need to be able to access resources electronically—especially when they have no place left to store paper. Now, the information they need is right at their fingertips when they need it.”
For more information about the SAMHSA Disaster App, visit:
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.