Need For Mental
Health Services in US
Expected to Mushroom
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Sept 13 - The psychological effects of the
terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are just
beginning to be felt, and will grow in the coming weeks, mental health
To aid victims and their families and friends, psychiatric departments
of New York City hospitals have mobilized crisis response teams and opened
walk-in clinics. Some are forming therapy groups for people affected by
the tragedy. Mental health professionals are volunteering their services,
and some of the corporations hardest-hit by the attack have created
assistance programs for the families of missing employees.
Lenox Hill Hospital, on Manhattan's East side, opened a walk-in clinic
providing counseling services on Wednesday. "Yesterday we had very
few people come in — I'm not that surprised," said Dr. Jonathan
Silver, assistant director for clinical services research in the
hospital's Department of Psychiatry. "I think a lot of it hasn't set
"By no means has everyone been a direct witness," said Dr.
Molly Poag, assistant director for education in the hospital's psychiatry
department. Some had been traumatized "through the media, through
knowing about it, through smelling the smoke," she explained.
The need for mental health services will grow, she added. "The
challenge is to get practitioners where they're needed and to do that in
the most coordinated way possible."
The full weight of the disaster and the extent of lost life will
probably not be felt until the city gets back to normal, Dr. Silver said.
"New York has dealt with this by doing things. There's going to be a
time when there's no more that we can do...we may start feeling more
isolated, more hopeless."
"People are going to develop anxiety disorders," Dr. Silver
added. "It's not just going to be nightmares and flashbacks that
people are going to have."
In fact, said Michael M. Faenza, head of the National Mental Health
Association in Washington, DC, it is likely that the prevalence of mental
illness among children and adults throughout the nation will rise in the
wake of the attack. Also, Faenza said he fears that the United States does
not have the mental health infrastructure in place to cope with this