By: Anne Mathews Younes, Director, Division of Prevention, Traumatic Stress, and Special Programs
The people of Boston have shown incredible resilience in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15. I have firsthand knowledge of this strength and sense of community. I lived in Boston for 25 years and I ran in and completed the Boston Marathon some years ago.
The Marathon brings a diverse group of people together as a community to celebrate persistence and accomplishment. It is that same sense of community and resilience that will help people cope with this disaster and the complex emotions that arise from it.
SAMHSA has continually developed resources to help people get the support they need to cope with a tragedy and foster resilience. The most prominent resources include:
- SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 (or text “TalkWithUS” to 66746) provides immediate counseling and referrals to anyone in need.
- The SAMHSA Disaster Response Kit provides first responders—whether they are disaster response workers, parents, caregivers, or teachers—with specific tips for responding effectively in the wake of a disaster. The information is meant to help alleviate painful emotions and promote resilience, hope, and healing. Get the Disaster Response Kit.
- SAMHSA also has a wealth of resources to help cope with violence and trauma. Follow this link http://www.samhsa.gov/trauma/ to access more than 50 resources geared to a variety of audiences and in multiple languages. The resources provide information on coping with grief, dealing with media coverage, and coping with mass violence and traumatic stress.
- Events like these are especially difficult for children. The SAMHSA-funded National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention has resources to deal with crisis preparedness, response, and recovery, especially in relation to children. You can visit their website at http://crisisresponse.promoteprevent.org.
My thoughts, and those of my SAMHSA co-workers, are with the people who were touched by this tragedy. We want them to know about these resources, and our continuing support, as they rebuild and recover.
Anne Mathews Younes , Ed. D., D.Min.
Division of Prevention, Traumatic Stress, and Special Programs
Center for Mental Health Services