Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Sept. 11 Victims Eligible for $95M in Long-Term Mental Health Benefits. (Benefits Available for Up to 5 Years)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Sept. 11 Victims Eligible for $95M in Long-Term Mental Health Benefits. (Benefits Available for Up to 5 Years)

Article excerpt

Victims and rescue workers affected by last year's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington are eligible for millions of dollars in mental health treatment funded by the American Red Cross and the September 11th Fund, though it is unclear how many people will rake advantage of the benefit.

About 150,000 families are eligible to receive mental health benefits under a joint $95 million, 5-year program set up by the Red Cross and the fund; the Red Cross estimates that up to 16,000 people will use at least some of that assistance. As of the end of August--before the program had received significant publicity--about 600 people had signed up, according to the Red Cross.

What sets this program apart, say those involved and observing its progress, is its focus on providing benefits for as long as 5 years after the attacks. It's a lesson learned from previous disasters.

"Early on, we recognized that people in New York City and across the country were impacted by 9/11, and based on what we learned in Oklahoma City, there was going to be a long-term level of trauma," said Maggie Tapp, acting director of mental health and health services for the American Red Cross' September 11th Recovery Program, referring to the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building, which left 168 people dead. …

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