In an effort to broaden our reach to disaster survivors and emergency responders, the Disaster Distress Helpline has developed online peer support communities through Facebook Groups for those who have experienced a natural or human-caused disaster. These online communities offer opportunities for survivors and responders to connect with others who have experienced similar events, share accurate information and trusted resources, and help one another continue to heal from the effects of a traumatic event.
What Does it Offer?
The purpose of DDH Online Peer Support Communities is to create enhanced opportunities for survivors and responders of disaster to come together for mutual aid and emotional support.
DDH Online Peer Support Communities Also Include:
Trained Peer Supporters
DDH Online Peer Support includes trained peer supporters who assist with group moderation and vetting resources. In addition to community forums, our goal is also to create purposeful discussions lead by peer supporters with specific themes and relevant topics. While each survivor and responder’s experiences are unique, being with peers who have had a similar experience can promote connection, offer new ways of coping, and build a foundation of trust.
Peer support does not take the place of therapy or counseling. The opportunity to provide mutual aid and support to others who have faced similar challenges, when and where they need it, offers hope that healing and recovery is possible after a disaster.
Immediate Crisis Support
All DDH Online Peer Support Communities are monitored 24/7 by a designated DDH crisis center where crisis counselors are available to talk to members who may be in emotional distress and need crisis support. Members can talk to a counselor at any time of the day or night via Crisis Support Over Messenger (CSOM).
Survivors and Responders of the COVID-19 Pandemic
DDH Online Peer Support Communities offer peer support for anyone who identifies as a survivor or responder of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both survivors and responders can come together for mutual aid, to share trusted resources, and to help one another continue to heal from the effects of a national pandemic. Survivors and responders may include but are not limited to, any healthcare workers, emergency responders, parents/caregivers, educators, individuals who have lost loved ones, people who are dealing with “Long-haul COVID”, those impacted by job loss or economic hardship during the pandemic, and anyone else who has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. DDH-trained Peer Supporters are also available to listen and offer validation and encouragement. Additionally, they provide structured moderation within the community to engage members in meaningful discussions on relevant topics and offer timely and trusted resources. To join our Facebook group dedicated to Survivors and Responders of the COVID-19 Pandemic, click here.
Survivors of Mass Violence
DDH Online Peer Support Communities offer peer support for survivors of mass violence in the United States including mass shootings, terrorist attacks, or other large-scale community violence. Survivors and loved ones who have experienced mass violence can connect with one another and provide emotional support in the aftermath of a mass violence incident, including how to cope with activating events and memorials, self-care strategies, and challenges with daily living. DDH-trained Peer Supporters are available to listen to members, and offer validation and encouragement. They also provide structured moderation to engage members in meaningful discussions on relevant topics and provide timely and trusted resources. If you are a survivor or the loved one of a survivor of mass violence and need support, please join our Facebook group by requesting to be a member here.
Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7 Support
If you or someone you care for is experiencing distress or other mental health concerns related to disaster, call OR text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990. Counselors are available 24/7/365 and can listen to what’s on your mind, explore available coping support, and offer information on community resources for follow-up care and support.
Click here to access our DDH Online Peer Support Communities FAQ.
Click here to watch a short video about our DDH Online Peer Support Community for Healthcare Workers.
Click here to watch a short video about our DDH Online Peer Support Community for Parents and Caregivers Impacted by COVID-19.
Click here to watch a short video about our DDH Online Peer Support Community for Survivors of Mass Violence.