Disaster Response State Project

The State of Hawaiʻi has faced a number of natural disasters in recent years, including Hurricane Lane, Hurricane Olivia, the Kilauea eruption, and Kauaʻi flooding. The Hawaiʻi Disaster Response State (DRS) Project was implemented by the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) to address behavioral health impacts resulting from natural disasters which have occurred in Hawaiʻi since 2018. Between 2020 and 2022, the Hawaii DRS project received $7 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and resulted in the following accomplishments:

Behavioral and Mental Health Services

  • Direct Service, Screening, Outreach and Referral. ADAD worked with 11 substance use treatment providers to provide direct services across the continuum of care to individuals who have been affected by natural disasters.  Through these efforts, 275+ individuals across the state received DRS-funded behavioral health services. In addition, we received over 95 reports of screening, outreach, and referral services. ADAD also collaborated with the Adult Mental Health Division (AMHD) to provide stabilization bed services to individuals affected by disaster and supported outreach services to youth through a partnership with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division (CAMHD).

Resource Development and Distribution

Disaster Response Booklet – Click to download

Public Education Campaigns

  • Prepare NOW. ADAD and OPHP also collaborated to promote the Prepare NOW emergency preparedness efforts through the development of a media campaign to educate Hawaii residents about hurricane preparedness and encourage them to have an emergency plan, get organized, take only what is needed when shopping for supplies, and review the emergency checklist at PrepareNOWHawaii.org.
  • Hawaiʻi CARES. The Hawaiʻi Coordinated Access Resource Entry System (CARES) line is a statewide initiative functioning as the number to call for a continuum of care with services for substance use, mental health, and crisis line services in Hawaiʻi.  ADAD sponsored a media campaign to promote the service to individuals who need support. Advertisements encouraged people to call Hawaiʻi CARES for assistance.
  • Teen Link Hawaiʻi. In collaboration with the DOH’s Family Health Services Division (FHSD), ADAD developed advertisements for the Teen Link Hawaiʻi media campaign that convey simple but memorable grounding techniques that are easy to remember and employ during times of anxiety or stress, and direct them to TeenLinkHawaii.org for more teen-appropriate behavioral health resources.

All media campaigns ran from July 2022 through September 2022 and included the following media outlets: Television, radio, digital, streaming, and print advertisements. Over 90% statewide reach was achieved across media outlets for each campaign.  

Workforce Training 

  • Beyond the Storm: Resilience and Healing Webinar Series. ADAD worked with Papa Ola Lokahi through a contract with the Coalition for A Drug-Free Hawaiʻi to provide a webinar series for substance abuse treatment and recovery service providers. Beyond the Storm: Native Hawaiian Resilience & Healing included 15 virtual learning sessions and covered the topics of Hawaiian Beliefs & Approaches to Mental Health and Wellbeing; Decolonizing Disaster Preparedness & Skills Building; Indigenous Approaches for Recovery Provider Training; and Stories of Resilience, Recovery & Healing. A total of 554 people attended representing over 130 organizations across the state.
  • ʻUlu Disaster Response Cultural Training Series. ADAD partnered with the Māpuna Lab at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health to create a training series which reframes how one views natural disasters through a Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander cultural lens. The six-part training series discusses disasters as opportunities to thrive and addresses the topics of Disaster Preparedness; Food Security; Housing Security; School, Childcare, and Job Security; Violence Prevention; and Stress Management and Social Isolation. The trainings are housed on the ʻUlu DRS Website and on Hawaiʻi TRAIN and continuing education credits are available for a variety of healthcare professions.
  • Mural Cultural Training Project. Māpuna Lab also conducted a mural project created with members of community organizations to help communities internalize the concepts of disaster that were taught in the ʻUlu Disaster Response Cultural Training Series. A mural with local community organizations that visually depicts the concepts of disaster preparedness and response was developed and will remain on display at Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services on Oahu. Smaller scale reproductions will be made available for dissemination to participating organizations on the neighbor islands.

For more information on the DRS Project, please contact the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division at (808) 692-7506.