Staff members at OVC express our heartfelt condolences to the victims of the shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, Missouri.
The following resources may be of assistance to the victims, their families, and the community during this difficult time.
Resources are also available to help victim service providers, educators, law enforcement, first responders, and community and faith leaders responding to this tragedy.
VictimConnect is an OVC-funded service that offers confidential assistance to victims of crime. Trained specialists are available to help you locate services in your area, including mental health counseling, legal services, and more. Contact VictimConnect, Monday-Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. eastern time at:
Phone: 855-4-VICTIM (855-484-2846)
Dial 711 and VictimConnect staff can provide services through an interpreter in more than 200 languages, and to hearing- and speech-impaired individuals.
Disaster Distress Helpline
The Disaster Distress Helpline, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is a national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling.
This 24/7 toll free, multilingual, crisis support service is available to residents in the United States and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters, including incidents of mass violence. Call or text the hotline at 800-985-5990.
Missouri’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Program, funded in part through the OVC-administered Crime Victims Fund, may help offset a victim’s financial burden related to funeral, mental health, medical, and other expenses. Following is contact information for this program:
Department of Public Safety Crime Victims' Compensation
Email: [email protected]
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides a series of resources that may assist parents, school personnel, pediatric care providers, and others when speaking with youth and teens, including:
- Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth After the Recent Shooting (Spanish)
- Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators (Spanish)
- Helping School-Age Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers (Spanish)
- Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers (Spanish)
- For Teens: Coping after Mass Violence (Spanish)
- After a Crisis: Helping Young Children Heal
- Guiding Adults in Talking to Children about Death and Attending Services
- Terrorism and Violence Resources
- Community Violence Resources
- Childhood Traumatic Grief
NCTSN also has resources for responders on Psychological First Aid. Psychological First Aid is an early intervention to support children, adolescents, adults, and families impacted by these types of events.
View additional helpful resources from to support children.
The following resources may also be of assistance in the aftermath of this crime.
Be Red Cross Ready: Taking Care of Your Emotional Health After a Disaster
This fact sheet explains normal reactions to a disaster, what a survivor can do to cope with these emotions, and where to seek additional help if needed. This fact sheet is also available in a large-print edition and in Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
Coping With Grief After Community Violence
This fact sheet introduces some of the signs of grief and anger after an incident of community violence. It provides information about to how to cope with grief, and also offers tips for helping grieving children.
OVC Handbook for Coping After Terrorism: A Guide to Healing and Recovery
This handbook provides victims of terrorism with information based on the expertise of mental health, crisis counseling, and victim assistance professionals. The handbook is intended to help these victims understand their reactions to an act of terrorism or mass violence.
OVC Help Series for Crime Victims: Homicide
This OVC brochure provides information on what to expect as a co-victim or survivor of homicide, where you can get help, and additional resources for information and assistance.
Tips for Survivors: Coping With Grief After a Disaster or Traumatic Event
This tip sheet contains information about grief, the grieving process, and what happens when the process is interrupted and complicated or traumatic grief occurs.
Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event: Coping with Retraumatization
This brochure explains the signs and symptoms of retraumatization. Gives guidance on how to manage the symptoms. It provides resources for building resilience and an adequate support system for dealing with triggering events. This brochure is also available in Spanish.
Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Traumatic Event: What To Expect in Your Personal, Family, Work, and Financial Life
The tip sheet suggests steps to cope with a disaster or other trauma, lists signs of the need for professional mental health and substance use assistance, and identifies resources for additional information and support.
What You Can Do If You Are a Victim of Crime
This brochure highlights victims' rights and compensation and assistance programs, and lists national organizations that help victims to find information or obtain referrals.
Transcend Mobile App and Other Self-Help
Funded by OVC, this National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center mobile app provides resources and information about common reactions to mass violence and strategies for recovery. Users can access tools and activities on calming the body, managing distressing thoughts, maintaining healthy activity, coping with loss, and helping others. A “Get Help” feature offers contact information for crisis hotlines and other support services.
Learn more and download the Transcend Mobile App.
The National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center also has a page providing self-help for survivors. It addresses common trauma reactions, coping tips, guides for parents and caregivers, and other support.
Compensation Protocol: A Guide to Responding to Mass Casualty Incidents
The product of the OVC-funded Mass Casualty Protocol project, this manual examines the role of victim compensation programs during a mass casualty incident and describes a strategy for serving victims, survivors, allied victim professionals, and compensation program staff.
Complex Homicide Resource for Victim Advocates and Allies
This report may be used as a resource for victim advocates, law enforcement or other allied professionals that participate in existing multidisciplinary teams that respond to homicides, or those that are aiming to create one.
Effects of Traumatic Stress After Mass Violence, Terror, or Disaster
This online article from the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) describes the emotional, cognitive, physical, and interpersonal reactions that disaster survivors may experience. The article also presents information on risk and protective factors in disaster survivors.
Field Manual for Mental Health and Human Service Workers in Major Disasters
This Field Manual is intended for mental health workers and other human service providers who assist survivors following a disaster. This pocket reference provides the basics of disaster mental health, with numerous specific and practical suggestions for workers.
Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resources
This toolkit is designed to help communities prepare for and respond to victims of mass violence and terrorism in the most timely, effective, and compassionate manner possible.
The OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center also has a dedicated Mass Violence and Terrorism Resource page that contains more than a dozen recorded webinars on topics related to the toolkit mentioned above. Webinars include—
- Are You Prepared – the Role of Victim Assistance Providers,
- the First 24-48 Hours,
- 48 Hours and Beyond,
- Volunteer Management,
- Donation Management,
- Addressing the Impact of Trauma When a Mass violence Incident Occurs,
- How to Design and Implement a Resiliency Center,
- and other topics.
Incidents of Mass Violence
The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline supports survivors, family members, responders, and recovery workers who are affected by incidents of mass violence and other disasters. Information on this webpage includes a list of signs of emotional distress related to incidents of mass violence, details of lockdown notices and other warnings, and additional resources for coping.
Media Coverage of Traumatic Events: Research on Effects
This article discusses the potential impact of viewing news coverage of mass violence and terrorism on adults and children. It concludes with tips on how to address stress symptoms caused by viewing traumatic events.
Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism: A Field Guide
This guide is intended for service providers and professionals in the mental health field providing the basics in responding to and assisting victims and families during the aftermath of mass violence and terrorism.
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services: Officer Safety and Wellness
This section of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services website contains resources on protecting law enforcement personnel from the physical, mental, and emotional health problems associated with the job. Resources on this page include guidance on handling mass casualty incidents.
Preparing for the Unimaginable: How Chiefs Can Safeguard Officer Mental Health Before and After Mass Casualty Events
This publication offers expert advice and practical tips for helping officers to heal emotionally, managing the public, dealing with the media, building relationships with other first responder agencies, and more.
Psychological First Aid for First Responders: Tips for Emergency and Disaster Response Workers
This tip sheet provides first responders with information on how to address people for the first time after a disaster and how to calmly communicate and promote safety.
Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide
Developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the National Center for PTSD, Psychological First Aid is an evidence-informed approach for assisting survivors of disaster and terrorism.
SAMHSA Disaster App
This mobile app helps responders focus on people in need by providing resources for any type of traumatic event, including tip sheets; guides for responders, teachers, parents, and caregivers; and a directory of behavioral health service providers in the impacted area. Key preparedness materials are available and information can be shared with others via text message, email, or transfer to a computer for printing.
Tips for Disaster Responders: Preventing and Managing Stress
This tip sheet helps disaster response workers prevent and manage stress. It includes strategies to help responders prepare for their assignment, use stress-reducing precautions during the assignment, and manage stress in the recovery phase of the assignment. This tip sheet is available in Spanish.
Tips for Disaster Responders: Understanding Compassion Fatigue
Disaster behavioral health response work can be very satisfying, but it can also take its toll on disaster responders. This fact sheet discusses the causes and signs of compassion fatigue and tips for how to prevent it.
Tips for First Responders, 5th Edition (supporting victims with disabilities)
This booklet offers tips that first responders can use during emergencies to support and communicate with people with disabilities. The booklet is divided into sections that focus on older adults and on people with service animals, mobility impairments, autism, multiple chemical sensitivities, cognitive disabilities, and hearing or visual impairments.
The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit
Research shows that vicarious trauma, when left unaddressed, can lead to staff burnout, turnover, stress, and a lesser quality of services for victims. This OVC toolkit offers guidance to help organizations strengthen their ability to address work-related exposure to trauma.
- Develop a comprehensive victim assistance plan for responding to incidents of mass violence, terrorism, natural disasters, and high-profile criminal incidents.
- Bring key partners together to review existing emergency plans, and to initiate or continue the development of a victim assistance plan within a community.
- Establish victim assistance protocols, which can greatly enhance the effectiveness of response and recovery efforts.
- Follow protocols for short- and long-term responses to victims following incidents of mass violence.
National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center Resources
The mission of the OVC-funded National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center is to improve community preparedness and the nation’s capacity to serve victims recovering from mass violence through research, planning, training, technology, and collaboration.
The Center offers a number of tip sheets for Victim Assistance Professionals supporting those affected by mass violence. The Center also provides a Core Compendium for victim service professionals and allied professionals that address Readiness, Response, and Resilience relevant to mass violence incidents.
The Planning and Implementation Guide for Comprehensive, Coordinated Victim Assistance for Mass Violence Incident Trials is designed to help prosecutors, victim services and mental/ behavioral health providers, and allied professionals plan for high-profile trials with a focus on victims’ and survivors’ needs, and effective and coordinated strategies to meet them.
Visit the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center website for additional resources.
The mission of the OVC-funded National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center is to improve community preparedness and the Nation’s capacity to serve victims recovering from mass violence through research, planning, training, technology, and collaboration. The following tips sheets are for community and civic leaders rebuilding their communities.
- Tips for Civic Leaders: Supporting Your Community’s Remembering of Mass Violence Victims
- Community and Faith Leaders: Tips for Recognizing the Anniversary of a Mass Violence Incident
- Remembering Tragic Events as a Community: Creating a Permanent Memorial
- The Role of Victim Assistance Professionals in Building Resilience After Mass Violence Incidents
- Strategic Story Telling: Guidelines for Victims, Survivors and Family Members of Mass Violence Incidents
- Timeline of Activities to Promote Mental Health Recovery
- Tips for Community Leaders: Establishing a Family Assistance Center
- Tips for Community Leaders: Supporting Victims and Families
- Tips for Community Leaders: Managing Donations
- Tips for Community Leaders: Managing Volunteers
- Tips for Community Leaders: Funding and Victims Compensation
- Unexpected Challenges for Communities in Recovery Phase
- Unexpected Challenges for Communities during the Immediate Response of a Mass Violence Incident
Faith Communities and the Disaster Distress Helpline
This tip sheet provides religious leaders with information on SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Helpline, which offers 24-hour, year-round crisis counseling for individuals and families experiencing emotional distress because of disasters. The tip sheet explains who answers the Disaster Distress Helpline, what happens when someone calls or texts the helpline, and what services are available. The tip sheet also notes when the helpline should be used as a referral. This tip sheet is also available in Spanish.
Faith Communities and Disaster Mental Health
This tip sheet provides information for religious leaders about common stress reactions people may experience in response to a disaster and suggests ways they can cope, and help others cope, with disaster stress reactions. The sheet also provides information on referring people for mental health services. This tip sheet is also available in Spanish.
Psychological First Aid: Spiritual Leader and Practitioners
This tip sheet discusses the importance and benefits of Psychological First Aid in faith-based communities and how to reach out to those who need help and provide them with comfort and care. Psychological First Aid is an approach that the general public can use to assist others immediately after a disaster. The tip sheet discusses how to recognize basic needs, support problem-solving, validate survivors' feelings and thoughts, help survivors connect with support systems, educate survivors about stress responses, and reinforce strengths and positive coping strategies.