Psychologists Talk of Emotional ‘Scars’
The American Red Cross will respond to the psychological impact of yesterday's terrorist attacks by "mobilizing mental health experts to help not only the families of victims, but everyone who was rattled by the attacks," USA Today reports. According to USA Today, the Red Cross continues to assist some of the 10,000 people that it helped after the Oklahoma City Bombing in coping psychologically with that tragedy (Davis, USA Today, 9/12). The Tallahassee Democrat reports that many psychologists say it will be difficult for adults and children to "come to grips" with the attacks. Kate Kerr, a Tallahassee psychologist, said, "I think there will be some anger, fear and a sense of helplessness. Some people may become more depressed if they were already depressed anyway" (Jordan, Tallahassee Democrat, 9/12). USA Today reports that many officials involved in coordinating the response to the attacks have also been impacted. Darren Irby with the American Red Cross said, "These are the coffee-drinking, chain-smoking, ambulance-chasing, hard-core disaster folks. The fact that it's getting to them says something."
Some of the "tips" that the Red Cross offer Americans for dealing with the attack include:
- Avoid media coverage;
- Ask for help and talk about feelings;
- Return to "usual" routines; and
- Do something to help others.
While the Red Cross says that repeatedly viewing news footage of the attacks can "slow" the ability to cope with the stress, the American Psychiatric Association recommends that people "stay informed" of any new developments or information. The APA also suggests that people avoid "heavily populated areas" and act on "facts, not fear or speculation" (USA Today, 9/12). To help children during times of "crisis," the American Academy of Pediatrics says that it is "critical" that parents talk about the attack with their children and "assure" the everything is being done to keep them safe. The AAP also says that adults should also "stress" that terrorist acts are not about politics and religion, and that "lashing out" at religious or ethnic groups will only cause "more harm" (AAP release, 9/12).
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