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Support During a Crisis

The Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency and the Anne Arundel County Department of Health have compiled the following information and resources for addressing mental health and overall well-being of children and adults. These resources are important for both those directly impacted by a crisis (such as victims, witnesses, responders) as well as others in the community.

Crisis Support Services

  • The Anne Arundel County Crisis Response System provides crisis support services through a 24/7 local warmline (410) 768-5522.
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Ongoing Mental Health Support

Mental health evaluation, treatment, and other support resources are available in our community. Visit Network of Care for a list of local providers, talk with your primary care doctor, or contact your insurance company directly for information on preferred providers and your individual plan benefits for behavioral health services. Call the Anne Arundel County Department of Health at (410) 222-0117 or the Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency at (410) 222-7858 during business hours for help with connecting with local resources. For 24/7 access to resources call the Anne Arundel County Crisis Response System warmline at (410) 768-5522.

Signs & Symptoms of Distress

When a community has experienced a traumatic event or crisis, children and adults may feel significant fear, anxiety and stress. This impact may be felt by those who were directly involved in the event (such as victims, witnesses, responders) as well as others who may not have been directly involved. This response may cause physical symptoms or illness in the body, emotional distress, and/or behavioral changes. Sometimes adults or children will show symptoms right away, or sometimes it may take much longer for symptoms to appear. Being involved in a traumatic event or even hearing about it via media reports may cause people to feel distress by reminding them of past events in their lives.

Resources for Staff/Responders

Additional Resources

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

In response to the recent shooting at the Capital Gazette in Maryland, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network has developed resources to help families and communities. These resources include tip sheets on:

· The Psychological Impact of the Recent Shooting

· Tips for Parents on Media Coverage

· Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth after the Recent Shooting

· Talking to Children about the Shooting

· Helping Young Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers

· Helping School-Age Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers

· Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers

· Helping Youth After a Community Trauma: Tips for Educators

· After a Crisis: Helping Young Children Heal

The NCTSN also has resources on Psychological First Aid (PFA). PFA is an early intervention to support children, adolescents, adults, and families impacted by these types of events. Many of our materials have been translated into numerous languages, including Spanish. An online training course for PFA is available on our NCTSN Learning Center, as well as a Childhood Traumatic Grief Speaker Series. PFA Mobile is an app that can be accessed for free for Apple mobile devices.

To access these resources and others, go to

Terrorism and Violence and Traumatic Grief

Available from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University:

· Funerals and Memorials: a Part of Recovery

· Grief Leadership: Leadership in the Wake of Tragedy

· Leadership Communication: Anticipating and Responding to Stressful Events

Posted: 06/29/2018

If you have Experienced a Traumatic Event or Critical Incident...

If you have experienced a traumatic event or a critical incident (any event that causes unusually strong emotional reactions that have the potential to interfere with the ability to function normally), even though the event may be over, you may now be experiencing or may experience later, some strong emotional or physical reactions. It is very common, in fact quite normal, for people to experience emotional aftershocks when they have passed through a horrible event. Sometimes the emotional aftershocks (or stress reactions) appear immediately after the traumatic event. Sometimes they may appear a few hours or a few days later. And, in some cases, weeks or months may pass before the stress reactions appear. The signs and symptoms of a stress reaction may last a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or longer, depending on the severity of the traumatic event. The understanding and the support of loved ones usually cause the stress reactions to pass more quickly. Occasionally, the traumatic event is so painful that professional assistance may be necessary. This does not imply craziness or weakness. It simply indicates that the particular event was just too powerful for the person to manage by himself.

Here are some common signs and signals of stress reaction:


Chills, thirst, fatigue, nausea, fainting, twitches, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, headaches, elevated BP, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, shock symptoms, grinding of teeth, visual difficulties, profuse sweating, difficulty  breathing, etc...


Confusion, nightmares, uncertainty, hypervigilance, suspiciousness,  intrusive images, blaming someone, poor problem solving, poor abstract thinking, poor attention/ decisions, poor concentration/memory, disorientation of time, place or person, difficulty identifying objects or people, heightened or lowered alertness, increased or decreased awareness of surroundings, etc...


Fear, guilt, grief, panic, denial, anxiety, agitation, irritability, depression, intense anger, apprehension, emotional shock, emotional outbursts, feeling overwhelmed, loss of emotional control, inappropriate emotional response, etc...


Withdrawal, antisocial acts, inability to rest, intensified pacing, erratic movements, change in social activity, change in speech patterns, loss or increase of appetite, hyper alert to environment, increased alcohol consumption, change in usual communications, etc...

* Any of these symptoms may indicate the need for medical evaluation.  When in doubt, contact a physician.


• WITHIN THE FIRST 24 - 48 HOURS periods of appropriate physical exercise, alternated with relaxation will alleviate some of the physical reactions.

• Structure your time; keep busy.

• You're normal and having normal reactions; don't label yourself crazy.

• Talk to people; talk is the most healing medicine.

• Be aware of numbing the pain with overuse of drugs or alcohol, you don't need to complicate this with a substance abuse problem.

• Reach out; people do care.

• Maintain as normal a schedule as possible.

• Spend time with others.

• Help your co-workers as much as possible by sharing feelings and checking out how they are doing.

• Give yourself permission to feel rotten and share your feelings with others.

• Keep a journal; write your way through those sleepless hours.

• Do things that feel good to you.

• Realize those around you are under stress.

• Don't make any big life changes.

• Do make as many daily decisions as possible that will give you a feeling of control over your life, i.e., if someone asks you what you want to eat, answer him/her even if you're not sure.

• Get plenty of rest.

• Don't try to fight reoccurring thoughts, dreams or flashbacks- they are normal and will decrease over time and become less painful.

• Eat well-balanced and regular meals (even if you don't feel like it).


• Listen carefully.

• Spend time with the traumatized person.

• Offer your assistance and a listening ear if (s)he has not asked for help.

• Reassure him/her that he is safe.

• Help him/her with everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, caring for the family, minding children.

• Give him/her some private time.

• Don't take his/her anger or other feelings personally.

• Don't tell him/her that he/she is "lucky it wasn't worse;" a traumatized person is not consoled by those statements. Instead, tell him/her that you are sorry such an event has occurred and you want to understand and assist him/her.

Call Anne Arundel County Crisis Response for resources at 410-768-5522

©International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Posted: 07/03/2018

Coping With Tragedy Video

Coping With Tragedy

Posted: 07/03/2018

Suicide Prevention Resources 

Hotlines for families and youth

Call 911 for immediate assistance in any emergency

24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Maryland's Crisis Line
Dial 2-1-1, Press 1
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Anne Arundel County Public Schools Student Safety Hotline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Anne Arundel County Veteran's Service Phone Line
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM, Monday-Friday

National Suicide Prevention Hotlines

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline
Text: "TalkWithUs" to 66746

Physician Support Line
Monday – Friday: 8AM - 3AM ET
Saturday – Sunday: 8AM - 3AM ET

Veteran's Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255, Press 1, or text to 838255
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Anne Arundel County Department of Health's Gun Violence Intervention TeamĀ  (GVIT) Suicide Prevention Toolkit

Anne Arundel County Department of Health's Gun Violence Intervention Team (GVIT) Domestic Violence Toolkit

Anne Arundel County Department of Health's Gun Violence Intervention Team (GVIT) Responsible Gun Ownership Toolkit

More Information 




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©Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency Inc - 1 Truman Parkway, Suite 101, Annapolis MD 21401 - P 410.222.7858 F 410.222.7881 info@aamentalhealth.org