Talk About It: Coping with Stress over the Holidays
Thanksgiving and other holidays can be stressful, especially for people who are recovering from disasters or emergencies. If you are having a hard time coping this season, talking about it can help. Professionals at the Disaster Distress Helpline are there to provide free, confidential support every day. Learn More >>
Disaster Distress Helpline
SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a--year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
The Disaster Distress Helpline puts people in need of counseling on the path to recovery. Our staff members provide counseling and support before, during, and after disasters and refer people to local disaster-related resources for follow-up care and support. Since its launch in February 2012, the Disaster Distress Helpline has provided counseling and support in response to disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Ebola outbreak.
The Disaster Distress Helpline is staffed by trained counselors from a network of crisis call centers located across the United States. These counselors provide:
- Crisis counseling for people in emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster
- Information on how to recognize distress and its effects on individuals and families
- Tips for healthy coping
- Referrals to local crisis call centers for additional follow-up care and support
When you call or text, crisis counselors will listen to what’s on your mind with patience and without judgment. There is no need to give any identifying information when you contact the Disaster Distress Helpline. The counselor may ask you for some basic information at the end of the call, but these questions are optional and are intended to help SAMHSA keep track of the types of calls it receives.
Who Should Contact the Disaster Distress Helpline?
This crisis support service is for anyone experiencing emotional distress related to disasters such as:
- Tornadoes and Severe Storms
- Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
- Incidents of Mass Violence
The Disaster Distress Helpline also answers calls and texts related to infectious disease outbreaks, such as the Ebola outbreak, incidents of community unrest, and other traumatic events.
The impact of crises may affect people in different ways. Learn how to recognize the warning signs and risk factors for emotional distress related to natural and human-caused disasters.
The Disaster Distress Helpline is open to everyone. This includes survivors of disasters; loved ones of victims; first responders; rescue, recovery, and relief workers; clergy; and parents and caregivers. You may call for yourself or on behalf of someone else.
Call or Text
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. The Disaster Distress Helpline’s number 1-800-846-8517 is available to all hard of hearing and deaf people.
SAMHSA also has an interpretation service that connects callers with counselors in more than 150 languages. Call 1-800-985-5990 and press 2. For texting support in Spanish:
- People in the United States should text Hablanos to 66746.
- People in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands should text Hablanos to 1-212-461-4635.
- People in American Samoa, Guam, Palau, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia should text Hablanos to 1-206-430-1097.
English speakers in U.S. territories text TalkWithUs to 1-212-461-4635.
Texting is subscription based and only involves a few steps:
- Enroll in the service by texting TalkWithUs or Hablanos exactly as written. It’s important to do this before sending your first text message because otherwise the enrollment may fail, and you will not be able to speak with a counselor, or you may accidentally subscribe to another service.
- Look for confirmation that your subscription was successful. You will receive a Success! message if it was.
- To unsubscribe, text Stop or Unsubscribe to 66746 at any time. For help, text Help to 66746.
Standard text and data message rates will apply when texting from mobile phones. International text and data rates may apply from within U.S. territories and free association nations. SAMHSA will not sell your phone numbers to other parties.
If you’re not in immediate need of crisis counseling support and would like to contact us for other reasons, send an email. Contact us for:
- Technical problems. If you encountered a technical problem while trying to contact the Disaster Distress Helpline, please include your name and preferred contact information in your email if you wish to receive a reply.
- Provider inquiries. Providers with specific inquiries about technical assistance and support, requests for materials, and exploring collaborations are encouraged to send an email.
- Feedback. To provide feedback about your experience reaching out to the Disaster Distress Helpline, send an email describing your experience and SAMHSA will look into the matter. Please include your name and preferred contact information if you wish to receive a reply.
- Social media inquiries. Email us with questions about the Disaster Distress Helpline’s use of social media.
- All media inquiries. Members of the media with questions about the Disaster Distress Helpline are encouraged to call the SAMHSA Media Services Team at 1-240-276-2130.
Our staff appreciate hearing from people about their experiences. SAMHSA takes feedback about our services, whether it is positive or negative, very seriously.
SAMHSA also encourages public promotion of the Disaster Distress Helpline. Anyone can use the Disaster Distress Helpline logo and telephone number on their website and link to the Disaster Distress Helpline’s materials and social media properties.
Call 211 for information about disaster-related evacuations, shelters, food and clothing distribution, volunteer opportunities, and other resources and referrals. Or visit the national 211 Call Center Search website to find the 211 information and referral center nearest you.
Last Updated: 08/28/2017
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