Responding to Terrorism: Recovery, Resilience, Readiness (Part 3)
For faith communities, kindness encompasses both a spiritual and
material response to crisis. Mickey Caison, director of the Disaster
Response for the North American Mission Board within the Southern
Baptist Convention, spoke of the church's partnership with
the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army to provide more than
500,000 meals in lower Manhattan after the 9-11 attack.
the same time, chaplains providing pastoral care met both profound
human needs and unexpected challenges, such as limited access to
Ground Zero and lack of training and experience with disaster relief.
"We need a national standard for training disaster-relief
chaplains, perhaps based on the military chaplain model,"
Mr. Caison suggested.
In addition, he said that in the next 2 years, New York should
expect high attrition in local clergy, as with other first responders,
and that spiritual and emotional intervention is needed for these
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When Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988,
Eileen Monetti's world changed forever. Her 20-year-old son
Rick, on his way home from a semester abroad, lost his life in the
crash, along with 269 others.
Ms. Monetti said that she and her husband turned to other surviving
families for help in the difficult days and years ahead. "The
group has been vital emotional support all the way through the trial
last March of Libyan nationals accused of this act of terror,"
she said. "Most families are strong. People are basically
healed, but we will never be the same."
While acknowledging the vital role of Federal agencies in helping
families, she felt the Government in 1988 was unprepared to support
the terrorist victims' families adequately. When disaster
strikes, "first impressions of Government are lasting,"
she said. "Victims of terrorism and their survivors need special
care. Their needs are real and longstanding, and subsequent political
and terrorist events deeply affect their mental health."
Ms. Monetti now works with surviving families of World Trade Center
Helping parents cope with the consequences of disaster, from losing
a loved one to losing a job, can directly affect their children's
mental health, Assistant Surgeon General Susan J. Blumenthal, M.D.,
M.P.A., pointed out. Fostering resiliency in young people is one
of the most important challenges our country now faces, she said.
Dr. Robert Pynoos
"For children, parental demoralization is the real issue
of living under danger," said Robert Pynoos, M.D., professor
of Psychiatry at the University of California at Los Angeles and
director of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. When
a family's sense of safety is threatened, children need extra
closeness from parents who are likely to be preoccupied and irritable,
Successful treatment for children affected by a disaster may include
such simple tasks as remembering to take a child's hand when
walking by the scene of the trauma. In treatment, young children
may also be helped by replaying the event in a "time machine"
to manipulate the outcome. In doing so, the child can "move
closer to speaking about what it would be like to have a loved one
back with them and get help with feelings of loss," Dr. Pynoos
Part 1: Responding to Terrorism: Recovery, Resilience, Readiness
Part 2: Responding to Terrorism: Recovery, Resilience, Readiness
See AlsoArticle Continued: Part 4 »
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