RHY Resources

RHYTTAC Youth Mental Health Resource

The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC) have developed a resource on the Safe, Supportive & Responsive Approaches to Youth Mental Health.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health challenges among youth have been rising steadily for many years. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that between 2009 to 2019, the proportion of high school students reporting persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased by 40%, those seriously considering attempting suicide increased by 36%, and the share creating a suicide plan increased by 44%. Since the pandemic began, rates of psychological distress among young people, including symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges have increased significantly. Recent research from the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) covering 80,000 youth globally, identified a substantial continual decline in youth mental health. The study found that depressive and anxiety symptoms doubled during the pandemic, with 25% of youth experiencing depressive symptoms and 20% experiencing anxiety symptoms. In the U.S., this crisis has prompted a U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory regarding youth mental health and increased resources directed towards prevention and intervention.

Programs serving youth experiencing homelessness have also identified a significant increase in both the number and intensity of youth mental health needs over the past two years. Across regions, youth are experiencing high rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges, and programs often support youth through situations of intense crisis. Responding to the urgent mental health needs of youth experiencing homelessness requires us to look at practices and policies to ensure that they are trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and youth-led. This resource was developed to provide practical strategies and resources to support youth mental health through prevention, crisis intervention, and restorative practices.

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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Resources

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supports preparedness efforts by states, U.S. territories, tribes, and local entities to deliver an effective mental health and substance use-related response to disasters. SAMHSA helps states and communities with disaster mental health and substance use (disaster behavioral health) preparedness and response issues directly, as well as through the SAMHSA Technology Transfer Centers (TTCs) and the SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC).

The purpose of the SAMHSA-funded TTCs is to develop and strengthen the specialized mental health, substance use disorder, and primary healthcare workforce that provides prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for substance use disorders and mental illness. The TTC program includes three networks: the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network (ATTC), the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network (MHTTC), and the Prevention Technology Transfer Center Network (PTTC). For more information about the SAMHSA TTCs, please visit https://techtransfercenters.org/landing.

SAMHSA DTAC provides materials, training, and technical assistance to the entire United States, its territories, and federally recognized tribes for all-hazards disaster behavioral health preparedness, response, and recovery. For more information about SAMHSA services, please visit the website at https://www.samhsa.gov/dtac. You can also contact SAMHSA DTAC by emailing [email protected] or calling the toll-free hotline at 1–800–308–3515.

The following list of materials includes those focused on general mental health and substance use-related needs after a mass violence event, as well as a separate section listing materials for children, their caregivers, and school personnel.

General Disaster Response and Recovery Information

  • Tips for Survivors: Coping With Grief After a Disaster or Traumatic Event - In this tip sheet, SAMHSA defines and describes grief, discusses ways of coping with grief, and explains complicated or traumatic grief. The tip sheet also offers relevant resources for additional support. https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Tips-for-Survivors-/SMA17-5035
  • Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event - At this web page, CDC emphasizes the importance of effective coping after a disaster and getting professional help if needed for reactions that are difficult and intense. Links are provided to additional information about managing your emotional health as a survivor and about supporting your children in coping. https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/index.asp
  • The Impact of Disaster and Mass Violence Events on Mental Health - Intended for mental health and substance use disorder treatment professionals, this online article from the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) summarizes research on common reactions to disasters. The article identifies common reactions in disaster-affected communities and describes how reactions increase and decrease in communities over time, as well as highlighting risk factors for longer term reactions. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/type/violence_trauma_effects.asp
  • Managing Grief after Disaster - Written for mental health and substance use disorder treatment professionals, this online article from the National Center for PTSD contains information on bereavement, grief, and traumatic grief. It also covers complications of bereavement, risk factors for these complications, and treatment of people experiencing bereavement. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/type/manage_grief_disaster.asp
  • Online Clinical Trainings - Provided by the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center, this web page includes descriptions and links to trainings focused on treatments for trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder in children and adults. Treatments for which trainings are provided include trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and prolonged exposure. https://www.nmvvrc.org/vsps-clinicians/online-clinical-trainings
  • Bounce Back Now - Bounce Back Now is a free mobile app available through the Google Play and App Stores. It is intended to help people with coping and resilience after a natural disaster or incident of mass violence. Once users have created an account, they can complete regular questionnaires to assess mental health, access education and coping tools, and put together a plan for improving emotional health. There are also parenting tips for helping children and teens in coping with the emotional impacts of a disaster. https://www.bouncebacknow.org
  • PFA: Tips for Adults - Part of the Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide, this handout identifies common reactions in adults who have experienced a disaster, suggests responses, and offers examples of things to do and say to cope with the reaction. These suggestions and examples include a breathing exercise for relaxation, prioritization of responsibilities that feel overwhelming, and tapping into existing relationships for support. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/pfa-tips-adults

Mass Violence

  • Mass Violence/Community Violence - This part of the SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series resource collection focuses on incidents of mass violence, community violence, and terrorism and their effects. Resources discuss common reactions to incidents of mass violence, tips for coping, and ways to support children and youth in coping. https://www.samhsa.gov/resource-search/dbhis?rc%5B0%5D=type_of_disaster%3A20549
  • Coping after Mass Violence - Written for parents and families, this National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) tip sheet provides information about common reactions to mass violence and self-care tips for those living in communities where an incident of mass violence has taken place. The tip sheet also includes external resources for individuals seeking further support. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/coping-after-mass-violence
  • Improving Community Preparedness to Assist Victims of Mass Violence and Domestic Terrorism: Training and Technical Assistance (ICP TTA) Program - Funded by the Office for Victims of Crime within the U.S. Department of Justice, the ICP TTA program works to equip U.S. communities to respond effectively to incidents of criminal mass violence and domestic terrorism. The program's website features a resources page (https://icptta.com/resources), which offers vetted resources to help emergency managers, victim service professionals, and others make victim services part of emergency operations plans, as well as a trainings page (https://icptta.com/trainings), which includes freely available trainings to help build local capacity. https://icptta.com
  • Psychological Impact of the Recent Shooting - This document from the NCTSN lists reactions people may have to a shooting and related experiences (such as loss of loved ones and disruption of routines). It describes grief reactions, depression, and physical reactions, and it highlights ways to cope effectively with reactions to a shooting. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/psychological-impact-recent-shooting
  • Remembering - National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center (NMVVRC) - This web page describes how communities typically respond in grief after an incident of mass violence and offers guidance for community leaders in supporting communities through this process. Information and downloadable resources focus on communities remembering tragic events, incident anniversaries, and memorials. https://www.nmvvrc.org/community-leaders/rebuild-your-community/remembering
  • Survivors and Witnesses After Traumatic Events - A product of Voices Center for Resilience, a nonprofit formed after the attacks of September 11, 2001, this tip sheet for the public provides basic information about common effects of exposure to acts of violence, civil unrest, or terrorism. It identifies steps disaster-affected individuals can take in the immediate aftermath of crisis, common reactions to disasters, and tips for coping and asking for help. https://voicescenter.org/tip-sheets/trauma/survivors
  • Talking to Children about the Shooting - In this tip sheet, the NCTSN provides suggestions to parents and other caregivers for talking with their children in ways that help them to make sense of and cope with their reactions to a shooting. The tip sheet also identifies reactions common in children and teens to shooting incidents. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/talking-children-about-shooting
  • Tip Sheet for Youth Talking to Journalists After Mass Violence - This NCTSN tip sheet describes how talking with journalists may affect youth who have survived an incident of mass violence. It lists the rights that youth and families have (for example, they have the right to ask what the interview questions will be in advance of agreeing to an interview). It also identifies signs that reporters are doing their job well, so that readers know what to expect. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/tip-sheet-youth-talking-journalists-after-mass-violence
  • Tips for Parents on Media Coverage - In this tip sheet, the NCTSN explains the effects that media coverage of a violent incident may have on children and teens and suggests ways for parents and other caregivers to help children and teens manage reactions to media coverage and the violent event. The tip sheet also includes tips for families with involvement in a violent incident. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/tips-parents-media-coverage-shooting
  • Unexpected Challenges for Communities in the Aftermath of a Mass Violence Incident - This tip sheet from the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center lists some unexpected issues a community may encounter after experiencing a mass violence incident. The document also provides suggested solutions for managing these challenges and prioritizing a community’s safety and recovery. http://nmvvrc.org/media/301cm3if/tipsheet2.pdf

Resources for Children, Youth, Parents and Other Caregivers, and Schools

  • Children and Disasters - Part of the Disaster Survivors portal (https://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/disaster-survivors) at the SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center website, this web page describes how children and teenagers may experience disasters differently from adults, offers tips for disaster planning for families, identifies common reactions to disasters in children and teenagers, and provides suggestions for adults for helping children and teenagers cope after disaster. Links to related resources are also provided. https://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/disaster-survivors/children-and-disaster
  • Understanding Child Trauma - This web page from SAMHSA presents statistics on child trauma, which may be experienced as part of a natural or human-caused disaster, and lists signs of traumatic stress in children and youth. It also offers tips for parents and other caregivers for helping children and youth to cope with trauma. Links are also provided to downloadable infographics in English and Spanish provided by the SAMHSA National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative. https://www.samhsa.gov/child-trauma/understanding-child-trauma
  • Psychological First Aid for Schools (PFA-S) Field Operations Guide, 2nd Edition - Developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, this guide defines PFA-S, a model school communities can use to support students, their families, and staff immediately after a natural or human-caused disaster. Appendix C of the guide includes handouts for responders, parents and families, and students after a disaster. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/psychological-first-aid-schools-pfa-s-field-operations-guide
  • SchoolSafety.gov - Provided by the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services, this website features information and resources that K–12 school personnel, parents and caregivers, and law enforcement can use to explore school safety topics and recovery from a disaster or other emergency affecting a school. The Recovery section of the site at https://www.schoolsafety.gov/respond-and-recover/recovery offers a range of resources on recovery for school communities. https://www.schoolsafety.gov
  • After a Crisis: How Young Children Heal - This tip sheet from the NCTSN describes how young children may respond to disasters and other crises and suggests ways for parents and other caregivers to support them in coping. The tip sheet uses the word SAFETY as a memory aid for readers, with each category of tips beginning with a letter in the word. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/after-crisis-helping-young-children-heal
  • Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event - In this information and tip sheet, the NCTSN provides an overview of how children and adolescents may react to a traumatic event, including a natural or human-caused disaster that they experience as traumatic. This resource describes reactions typical within specific age ranges and offers tips for families, doctors, and school personnel to help children and adolescents cope. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/age-related-reactions-traumatic-event
  • Creating Effective Child- and Family-Focused Disaster Behavioral Health Messages on Social Media - In this approximately 40-page toolkit, the NCTSN provides guidance for professionals serving disaster-affected communities, as well as child-serving mental health organizations, in using social media to communicate with the public through all phases of disaster. The toolkit presents an overview of social media platforms; information about developing social media posts; and key communication considerations by phase of disaster, including in the aftermath of disaster and during long-term recovery. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/creating-effective-child-and-family-focused-disaster-behavioral-health-messages-on-social-media
  • Help Kids Cope - This free mobile app provides information to help parents and other caregivers, teachers, counselors, and others to talk about disasters with children. The app features tips and checklists to help with disaster preparation; information about how children typically respond to disasters; and links to books, activities, and other resources for children. Developed by the NCTSN and other organizations, the app runs on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, as well as Android devices. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/help-kids-cope
  • Helping School-Age Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers - After children lose someone they love in a disaster or other event, they may go through traumatic grief, particularly if the death was sudden or frightening. In this tip sheet, the NCTSN explains how school-age children may experience traumatic grief and suggests ways for parents and other caregivers to support them in moving through and coping with this type of grief. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/helping-school-age-children-traumatic-grief-tips-caregivers
  • Helping Young Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers - In this tip sheet, the NCTSN explains how young children may experience traumatic grief, which can arise after a disaster or other event in which the child lost a loved one. The tip sheet lists ways in which young children may go through and express traumatic grief and offers suggestions for parents and other caregivers to support children in coping. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/helping-young-children-traumatic-grief-tips-caregivers
  • Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators - In this 1-page tip sheet, the NCTSN identifies 10 ways youth may react to community traumas such as natural or human-caused disasters and suggests ways for educators to respond to these reactions and support youth in coping. The tip sheet also advises educators to find professional mental health support for youth—and for themselves—as needed. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/helping-youth-after-community-trauma-tips-educators
  • Once I Was Very Very Scared - This book for young children introduces several animal characters (e.g., squirrel, turtle, dog) who have gone through traumatic experiences, including disaster trauma, and are experiencing different reactions. It can be used by parents and other important adults in the lives of children to talk about difficult and traumatic experiences and support children in coping. The book is available in several languages other than English. https://piploproductions.com/stories/once
  • Psychological First Aid: Adults Working with Children and Teens - Provided by the New York State Office of Mental Health, this information and tip sheet describes for parents and other caregivers how disasters may affect children and factors that can shape how children react to disasters. It identifies steps parents and other caregivers can take to support children and teens in coping after a disaster. https://www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/disaster_resources/pfa/adults_children.pdf
  • Psychological First Aid: Teachers and Educators - Designed for personnel at schools that have experienced an incident of violence or a natural disaster, this tip sheet describes how teachers and educators may experience disasters and how PFA can help. PFA is an evidence-informed, modular approach that can be used to assist disaster survivors. The tip sheet offers ideas for teachers to take care of themselves and support others in the school community in coping and healing after disasters. https://www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/disaster_resources/pfa/teachers_educators.pdf
  • Resilience and Coping Intervention (RCI) - This intervention can be used to help children and adolescents cope with disasters and other forms of community trauma. RCI is designed for groups of 5 to 10 people and can be delivered in one or several sessions. RCI groups can be implemented in programs based in schools and other settings and led by teachers, counselors, or other professionals who have been trained in the intervention. https://dcc.missouri.edu/rci.html

A disaster event such as this is unexpected and often brings out strong emotions. People can call or text the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline’s toll-free number (1–800–985–5990) and receive immediate counseling. This free, confidential, and multilingual crisis support service is available to anyone experiencing psychological distress as a result of this event. People who call and text are connected to trained and caring professionals from crisis counseling centers in the network. Helpline staff provide confidential counseling, referrals, and other needed support services.

The SAMHSA Disaster App allows disaster behavioral health responders to navigate resources related to pre-deployment preparation, on-the-ground assistance, and post-deployment resources. Users can also share resources from the app via text message or email and quickly identify local mental health and substance use disorder treatment services. https://store.samhsa.gov/product/samhsa-disaster

Should you have further questions, you may reach a technical assistance specialist at SAMHSA DTAC by calling 1–800–308–3515 or emailing [email protected].



Past Funding Opportunity Announcements for Runaway and Homeless Youth Grant Programs

Subscribe to Grants.gov to receive updates on RHY funding announcements. Grants.gov (https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html) may contain prior years' funding announcements under the "Closed Opportunity Status." Individuals can also use the search in the keyword field for a specific grant to yield its status and see available information. An already awarded grant's upcoming information might show as "Forecasted Opportunity."

2022 Notice of Funding Opportunities will be posted on the RHY News page.

Transitional Living Program



Basic Center Program



Street Outreach Program


Maternity Group Home Program




Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum

National Runaway Safeline's Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum is a free, evidence-based, interactive, 14 module curriculum intended to educate young people about alternatives to running away as well as to build life skills so that youth can resolve problems without resorting to running away or unsafe behavior.

The curriculum can be used in any number of settings, including schools, youth groups, community centers, and after school clubs. Let’s Talk is primarily designed for youth ages 10-20, but can be adapted to other age groups.

Let’s Talk is also designed to be supremely user-friendly for instructors. Each module gives instructors all the necessary information, including worksheets that correspond to each activity, as well as pre- and post-tests.


Core Outcome Areas Literature Review

The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) is pleased to announce a compendium of measures focused on core outcome areas.  The four core areas include:1) permanent connections; 2) physical and social and emotional well-being; 3) education and employment; and 4) safe and stable housing.  This resource was developed based on a systematic and comprehensive review of the literature focusing on the latest research and identifying reliable and valid measures that target youth.  The compendium includes identified measures for each of the four core areas along with information on the age range for each measure, the delivery method for each measure, and all relevant scales and subscales. 

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