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Medical News & Perspectives |

Medical, Mental Health Communities Mobilize to Cope With Terror's Psychological Aftermath

Joan Stephenson, PhD
JAMA. 2001;286(15):1823-1825. doi:10.1001/jama.286.15.1823.
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In less than 2 hours on the morning of September 11 after four hijacked commercial jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and a rural area of Pennsylvania, thousands perished in the resulting firestorm of jet fuel and cataclysmic implosions of concrete, steel, and glass.

But the emotional and psychological fallout from the tragic events was only beginning for survivors, rescue and recovery workers, grieving families and friends, and others. During the weeks and months following the terrorist attacks, helping those who have psychological trauma will be an ongoing challenge for primary care physicians and mental health care professionals.

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Workers involved in rescue and recovery efforts after the September 11 terrorist attacks are among those at risk for psychological trauma. (Photo credit: Mike Rieger/FEMA News Photo)

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Walls papered with photos of people missing in the attack testify to the anguish of grieving family and friends. (Photo credit: Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma at the Massachusetts General Hospital)

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