Disaster Mental Health and Community Response – TRMA 820

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

This course examines the nature and effects of natural disasters on individuals and groups in affected communities. In addition, preparation for potential events on both a personal and community level is discussed. Large scale disasters addressed include tornados, hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, avalanches and landslides, sinkholes, and droughts, as well as pandemics and large scale civil unrest. Related topics may be added as needed. In addition to preparation and counseling responses, interaction with national, religious, and governmental relief agencies will be examined.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


As history shows repeatedly, large scale disasters occur with regularity, with lives affected and even lost due to the absence of effective post-incident mental health assistance. Informed intervention is increasingly mandated in the counseling field, as dependence on assistance outside of the community increases.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (4)

The goal of this course’s Discussions is to engage in an enjoyable, meaningful conversation simulating a classroom environment. Therefore, the student will be using all the technical means available to make this both a fun and academically thought-provoking experience. The student will create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. The post may be a video, narrated PowerPoint, or other related communication software product that you like and would be effective in conveying your ideas. It also may be a written post of 300–400 words and include at least 2 scholarly sources and integrate a Christian worldview. Either format must demonstrate course-related knowledge.

In addition to the thread, the student will have a conversation with at least 2 of his or her your peers. The student will reply to all classmates who ask questions about his or her thread and reply to 2 or more other classmates’ threads. The replies may be in similar formats described for the thread (video, narrated PowerPoint, etc.) or can be written replies of 50 or more words. The word count is not as important as the quality of the content to move the conversation forward in exploring the Discussion’s topic. See the Discussion Assignment Instructions for further information. (CLO: B, C, & D)

Psychological First Aid Treatment Plan Assignment

The student will use the format and materials from the NCTSN Psychological First Aid Online program to develop a Treatment Plan including practical application of the eight core strategies of Psychological First Aid. (CLO: A, C, & D)

Reflection Journal Assignments (7)

After the student reads his or her texts and reviews his or her online materials from Module 1: Week 1 through Module 7: Week 7, he or she will write a journal entry that includes the following: (a) Describing what he or she believes are the key ideas from this week’s readings (1 page), (b) How do these ideas impact the student as he or she considers working with trauma clients (1 page), and (c) What Christian worldview integration thoughts come to mind from this material (1 page)? (CLO: A, D, & E)

PowerPoint Presentation Assignment

The student will select 1 of the topics from any of the textbooks and prepare a scholarly presentation in PowerPoint. If appropriate to the topic, include an overview with definitions, incidence rates, types (of perpetrators/victims as relevant), harm or danger involved, possible spiritual factors, and symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options. Reference must be made in the presentation to at least 15 scholarly sources, in addition to any material taken from the textbooks, the Bible or popular sources. There must be a minimum of 50 slides, and these must be visually appealing and include illustrations in the form of clip art, pictures, film clips, etc. on each slide. Cite all sources, including websites, in current APA standards on the slides. (CLO: A–D)