New Toolkit Available for Monitoring and Surveillance of Behavioral Health After Disasters

With the support of CDC’s Office of Readiness and Response, RAND researchers have developed a practical online and interactive toolkit for state, territorial, local, and tribal public health departments. The toolkit can assist with conducting behavioral health surveillance following disasters and other public health emergencies. With improved monitoring and surveillance of behavioral health precursors and impacts, public health officials can:

  • follow long-term trends and better anticipate the potential impacts of emergencies;
  • identify sudden increases in behavioral health needs;
  • evaluate the equity and effectiveness of interventions for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance use; and
  • position resources to prevent adverse behavioral health impacts from future emergencies.

This toolkit shows how existing data sources can be used for behavioral health surveillance in the context of a variety of public health emergencies. These sources include unemployment insurance claims, 2-1-1 hotline calls, calls to Poison Control Centers, prescription drug fills, sales of over-the-counter sleep aids, and use of emergency departments and emergency medical services. The toolkit is publicly available and free to access.