Talking to Children About Natural Disasters


A week after Cyclone Idai lashed southern Africa, flooding still rages. The confirmed death toll in Zimbabwe, neighboring Mozambique, and Malawi surpassed 500 on Thursday, with hundreds more feared dead in towns and villages that were completely submerged.

While relief efforts have begun, It’s clear that the consequences are severe.  Our hearts and thoughts go out to the families whose lives have been so terribly impacted by this tragedy. 

Any type of natural disaster is frightening to children and adults, alike, it’s important to explain the event in words children can understand.

For information on talking to children about natural disasters please visit the following sites. Check out AACAP's Disaster Resources: 

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has dedicated web pages on the readiness, response, and recovery after various natural disasters, including earthquakes and tsunamis:

I’m Going to See a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist: Now What?

Print these comics out and place in waiting rooms so that young patients can read them as they wait for their appointment.

The comics are a hypothetical depiction of a first visit to a child and adolescent psychiatrist and represent just some of things a young patient may experience. The intent of the comics is not only to educate, but to let children and adolescents know that there is nothing wrong with seeing a psychiatrist or getting help.

These comics were created in 2017-2018 through a collaboration between AACAP's Community-Based Systems of Care Committee and AACAP’s Youth Connection (AYC). AACAP is grateful for the grant funding from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration that made this project possible.

AACAP: Get Involved!

Learn more about what AACAP has to offer at all career stages! We particularly recommend that training directors download the PowerPoint and make use of this resource as an introductory guide to AACAP for their trainees.

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