Types of Disasters
Learn about the different types of natural and human-caused
disasters and their impact on behavioral health.
Natural and human-caused disasters affect thousands of people each year.
Major adverse events such as these have the potential to cause catastrophic
loss of life and physical destruction. They are often unexpected and
can leave whole communities in shock.
People who live through a disaster can experience emotional distress.
Feelings of anxiety, constant worrying, trouble sleeping, and other
depression-like symptoms are common responses to disasters before,
during, and after the event. Many people are able to "bounce back"
from disasters with help from family and the community, but others
may need additional support to cope and move forward on the path of
recovery. Anyone can be at risk, including survivors living in the
impacted areas and first responders and recovery workers.
Natural disasters are large-scale geological or meteorological events
that have the potential to cause loss of life or property. These types
of disasters include:
$$Tornadoes and Severe Storms$$
$$Hurricanes and Tropical Storms$$
Severe storms and floods are the most common types of natural
disasters reported in the United States. These meteorological events
are occasionally preceded by presidential “emergency declarations”
requiring state and local planning prior to the event, such as evacuations
and protection of public assets. Disaster Distress Helpline staff are
available to speak to those who call or text before, during,
and after a natural disaster.
Examples include industrial accidents, shootings, acts of terrorism,
and incidents of mass violence. As with natural disasters, these types
of traumatic events may also cause loss of life and property. They may
also prompt evacuations from certain areas and overwhelm behavioral
health resources in the affected communities.
In the aftermath of the tragic loss of life that occurred on September 11,
2001, the feelings of loss of security and well-being—arguably the most crucial
ingredients for leading a happy, healthy life—dramatically affected the citizens
of the United States. Disaster Distress Helpline staff are also trained to
respond to calls or texts related to these types of disasters.