Document / Publication
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Peoples’ reactions to disaster and their coping skills, as well as their receptivity to crisis counseling, differ significantly because of their individual beliefs, cultural traditions, and economic and social status in the community. To respond effectively to the mental health needs of all disaster survivors, crisis counseling programs must be sensitive to the unique experiences, beliefs, norms, values, traditions, customs, and language of each individual, regardless of his or her racial, ethnic, or cultural background. Disaster mental health services must be provided in a manner that recognizes, respects, and builds on the strengths and resources of survivors and their communities. The purpose of this guide is to assist States and communities in planning, designing, and implementing culturally competent disaster mental health services for survivors of natural and human-caused disasters of all scales.