The mission of the Hoosier Hope Initiative is to coordinate all mental health and addiction activities prior to, during, and after an emergency or disaster, including acts of terrorism.


A disaster can be large or small. It can occur with or without warning. The type of disaster influences the duration and severity of psychological distress experienced by individuals and communities and the type of response needed. This distress is a normal reaction to an abnormal or unusual situation. For various reasons, some people in Indiana may be more vulnerable or at risk for experiencing distress as a result of disaster. A diverse pool of mental health professionals and community responders must be prepared and poised to act in a coordinated manner to adequately address the psychological and/or social needs of people impacted by disaster.

Residents of the State of Indiana, including sworn emergency responders face the threat of emergencies and disasters. Recognizing this threat, government at all levels has a continuing responsibility for the health, safety, and general welfare of Indiana residents that includes the mental health and addiction needs as well as the psychosocial impacts following an emergency or disaster.

Natural and human-caused disasters affect thousands of people each year. Major adverse events such as these have the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life and physical destruction. They are often unexpected and can leave whole communities in shock.

People who live through a disaster can experience emotional distress. Feelings of anxiety, constant worrying, trouble sleeping, and other depression-like symptoms are common responses to disasters before, during, and after the event. Many people are able to “bounce back” from disasters with help from family and the community, but others may need additional support to cope and move forward on the path of recovery. Anyone can be at risk, including survivors living in the impacted areas and first responders and recovery workers.