Coping with Tragic Events


After disaster or tragic events, people can feel stress, grief, guilt or anger. It's important to remember that there are ways to cope. You do not need to deal with difficult times alone.

If you would like to speak with a professional, Ventura County Behvioral Health encourages residents to call the crisis team. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Help is available in English, Spanish, and other languages.

Ventura County Crisis Team

If you believe your loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis and you need the assistance of law enforcement:
Call 9-1-1 and ask for a CIT officer


National Disaster Distress Helpline:
For anyone experiencing emotional distress related to disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, or incident of mass violence.
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
Available 24/7

Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event: Managing Stress
This SAMHSA tip sheet gives stress prevention and management tips for dealing with the effects of trauma, mass violence, or terrorism. It lists tips to relieve stress, describes how to know when to seek professional help, and provides accompanying resources.

Be Red Cross Ready: Taking Care of Your Emotional Health after a Disaster
This fact sheet from the American Red Cross explains normal reactions to a disaster, what a survivor can do to cope with these emotions, and where to seek additional help if needed.

Listen, Protect, Connect - Psychological First Aid from

2-1-1: For information about resources dial 211 or call 1-800-339-9597 or visit



See Helping Children Cope.

Caring for Children During a Disaster – CDC website:

Helping Children Cope with Disaster – Booklet with suggestions for parents from the Red Cross:
Sesame Street has videos and other resources for parents and children coping with traumatic experiences.

How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings
Strategies for dealing with anxiety – your kid's and your own.

"Help Kids Cope" App – This free mobile app provides information to help parents and other caregivers, teachers, counselors, and other prepare for and talk about disasters with kids. The app features tips and checklists to help with disaster preparation; information about how children typically respond to disasters; and links to kids’ books, activities, and other resources. Developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and other organizations, the app runs on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.



After a disaster, coping with stress and trauma is important from Day 1. Don't ignore your mental health. We each have different needs and different ways to cope. There are several things you can do to help care for yourself or a loved one.
  • Avoid overexposing yourself and loved ones to the incident via the news or social media
  • Work on meditation, breathing, and muscle relaxation techniques
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise
  • Get enough sleep
  • Participate in activities you don't find stressful, such as sports, hobbies or social events
  • Participate in meaningful cultural activities, including spiritual communities
  • Talk to your healthcare provider or a mental health professional
  • Stay alert – don't overdo alcohol or use other drugs as a way to cope with stress. Learn more about the risks at
Sharing reactions, thoughts, and emotions can be helpful for some people, but others may not want to share. Be sensitive to one another and speak in private, as not everyone will want to hear these conversations. It’s important to focus on personal experiences and established facts, not rumors.


Ventura County Recovers – Official recovery information for Ventura County fires:

After the Fire: Your Emotional and Physical Well-Being – This tip sheet provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains common reactions to stress and includes steps people can take to cope and stay healthy after a wildfire.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Wildfires – The CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response website provides information on a host of hazards, including wildfires.