Boston struggles to heal from emotional trauma of terror attack

Mourners embrace while taking part in a vigil for bomb victims a day after two explosions hit the Boston Marathon, in Boston, Massachusetts April 16, 2013. Credit: Reuters
Mourners embrace while taking part in a vigil for bomb victims a day after two explosions hit the Boston Marathon on April 16. Credit: Reuters

As the city recovers from the April 15 terror attack, many Bostonians may still be grappling with emotional distress, according to public health officials.

“It was a frightening event. It brought the experience of something like war to Boston,” said Deborah Allen, director of Child, Adolescent and Family Health at the Boston Public Health Commission. “Some feel sadness, even some guilt. We’ve talked to a number of people who were runners and initially felt very angry about having a year of work taken away, then very guilty for feeling deprived for walking away in tact. We’ve seen a range of emotions.”

On Tuesday, the city announced the formation of a drop-in center, which since then has offered free one-on-one and group counseling for people who were scarred by exposure to the traumatic stories and images emerging from the brutal attack.

There has been a surge of people taking advantage of the support service, Allen said, including wounded victims who are struggling with being thrust into a life of disability.

“These are huge traumatic changes,” she said. “The Mayor’s helpline has gotten an ongoing stream of calls, many from people who have been treated (for injuries) and released, but now have to deal with the psychological sequelae. For many, this is a sudden entry into the world of disability. Some people now need to adapt to a dramatic change in their life with some major impairments.”

Although it’s not unusual for people to feel emotional distress for the weeks following a traumatic event – like the Patriots Day attack – Allen recommends that those experiencing ongoing anxiety should seek medical treatment.

“It can linger. If it does, I’d say people should definitely seek assistance. Like any negative or dramatic experience, I think it unfolds over time. Immediately it may be shock, then turn into a whole set of anger and grief,” she said. “If it goes on for more than a couple of weeks, it would be wise to go to a primary care provider because they’re going to know what (help) is available.”

Friday is the last day the drop-in center will be open – from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 729 Massachusetts Ave.

Free parking will be available at an adjacent garage, located at 35 Northampton St.

The Mayor’s Health Line — 617-534-5050 — will continue to provide free trauma counseling and support over the phone through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Groups that would like to visit the drop-in center are encouraged to call the Mayor’s Health Line ahead of their visit to make sure staff can properly accommodate them. Individual visitors do not need to call ahead.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also maintains a Victim Assistance Call Center, which operates 24 hours a day, at 1-800-331-0075. To learn more about other forms of assistance being offered by the FBI, visit their website.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

The Word

The Word: Kris and Bruce Jenner's predictably public…

They said it wouldn't last — mostly because of that separation almost a year ago. And now, more than a year later, Kris and Bruce…

Movies

Antoine Fuqua knows how to kill a man…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

Exercising leads to more drinking — and we…

  We’re rewarding ourselves with more than dessert on days we exercise, according to a new study. On days when people exercise more, typically Thursday…

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…