Office of Safety and Youth Development

Crisis Support Resources for Families

A crisis is an event, situation, or period, which causes uncertainty, distress, pain, and difficulty.  In response, a crisis calls people to action to avoid further damaging effects.  Examples of crises which may have traumatic effects on a school community include bereavement caused by the death of a loved one or community member; a catastrophic environmental event; or a threat to physical safety. 

The emotional effects of a disaster on you and your child can be tremendous.  One of the difficulties experienced by parents during disasters is that they have not had adequate time to deal with their own reactions when they are called upon to deal with the impact of the disaster on their child.

Helping Your Child Cope with a Traumatic Event: Guide for Parents

Strategies to Support Your Child

The following are quick tips for parents in helping your child cope with a traumatic event: 

  • encourage your child to express their feelings through talking, drawing, and playing
  • provide honest information, and encourage your child to ask questions
  • listen and be empathic as your child interprets the event(s) 
  • provide reassurance that you and other adults will do everything possible to ensure your child's safety  
  • do not flood your child with too many television images of the tragic event (if applicable)
  • encourage healthy strategies to cope

Mental Health Referrals 

Citywide Mental Health Youth Resource Flyer - provides resources available to students and families.
1-800-LIFENET, which is available through the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, provides mental health and social service referrals by zip code and by family medical insurance.

Health Information Tools for Empowerment (HITE) is a resource for medical, mental health and related services in New York. Click on Search for Programs and Services for a wealth of resources in areas such as: after-school programs/youth groups, child care/day care, counseling for children, domestic abuse/victims’ services, early childhood education, family financial and welfare services, home-based family support, LGBTQ services, mentoring, parenting support, psychological testing for youth, summer youth programs, and tutoring.

Children's Mobile Crisis Team - CMCT is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide rapid responses and crisis management for children and adolescents in active crisis situations.

Bronx Children's Mobile Crisis Team of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York provides rapid response to referrals for children/adolescents in active crisis situations. This service is open to Bronx schools only. View details here before making a referral. Access additional information here.

Family Resource Centers - provide individual and group-based family support services to parents/caregivers of children and youth (birth- age 24) identified as having or at risk for developing emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges using a family and youth peer model.

Suicide Intervention & Prevention

American Association of Suicidology - September 8-14, 2014 is the 40th Annual National Suicide Prevention Week 

Comunilife services include: "Life is Precious," a Latina Suicide Prevention Program and the VIDA Guidance Center. View additional program information here.  

The Samaritans of New York - provide The Samaritans Suicide Prevention Hotline, which can be reached at (212) 673-3000, 24 hours/7 days.  Review the NYC Guide to Suicide Prevention, Services and Resources.    

Resources for Natural Disasters

After the Storm: A Guide to Help Children Cope with the Psychological Effects of a Hurricane - University of Miami, Department of Psychology

Child Mind Institute - Helping Children to Cope with Frightening News

iHelp is an online service sponsored by the Mental Health Association of NYC, which provides teachers and parents with access to free, confidential and effective programs to help regain a sense of emotional well-being.  A flyer and brochure (front, back) are available.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) offers trainings resources including After the Hurricane: Helping Young Children Heal 

FEMA's Emergency Preparedness page


Caring for Kids After Trauma, Disaster and Death: A Guide for Parents and Professionals (New York University's Child Study Center)

Coping With a Disaster or Traumatic Event (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
Crisis Management with Children and Adolescents: Information Guide for Parents and Caregivers (Center for School Mental Health in collaboration with the Maryland School Mental Health Alliance)

JBFCS, Trauma and Loss Bibliography

Helping Your Child Cope with a Traumatic Event: Guide for Parents 

Helping Children Exposed to Shocking Events (Hand in Hand)

Managing Strong Emotional Reactions to Traumatic Events: Tips for Parents and Teachers (National Association of School Psychologists)

Navigating Children's Grief

Parenting Press Looks at National Violence

Prepare, Respond, Recover's Guide on Recognizing Stress in Children (Prepare, Respond, Recover)

Talking with Children When the Talking Gets Tough
 (Purdue University)

Traumatic Grief Reading List

Tips for Parents to Help Children Manage Distress After School Shootings (American Psychological Association)

The Center for School Mental Health in collaboration with the Maryland School Mental Health Alliance developed a brief information guide for parents and caregivers when dealing with crises with their children and youth.
The National Council for Behavioral Health has a Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, or text ‘talkwithus’ (English) or ‘hablanos’ (Spanish) to 66746 at any time.

Resources for School Officials

For professional resources, school officials can visit the Crisis Support Resources page at the Principal's Portal.