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Lessons of 9/11 Responders for Coping with Grief

A group of mental health professionals who work with 9/11 first responders and survivors through the World Trade Center Health Program recently published an article in Psychology Today on “What 9/11 Recovery Workers Teach Us About COVID-19 Coping.”

The article explores how lessons from treating responders and rescue and recovery workers are applicable to the present crisis, in which the COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 330,000 Americans and disrupted our lives entirely.

First, the authors explain, we must understand our sensitivities and vulnerabilities – the mental scars and memories that remind us of trauma and have the potential to provoke feelings of anger, grief, and helplessness.

Second, when we struggle with painful memories, we often rely on old coping mechanisms. Working with a therapist can help develop new mechanisms that allow us to experience our emotions without feeling overwhelmed.

Third, to move beyond our trauma, we must acknowledge it. Confronting painful memories allows us to process them and better understand how to manage our emotions.

Fourth, finding meaning in our trauma creates an opportunity to navigate the emotions connected to the trauma to transcend grief and, ultimately, to thrive.

The past year has confronted all of us with challenges we could never have imagined, from the loneliness of isolation to job loss and financial insecurity to the death of beloved relatives and friends.

Our community of 9/11 first responders and survivors has suffered terribly during this time, losing hundreds of people whose immune and respiratory systems were compromised by exposure to Ground Zero toxins. Our firm alone has lost more than 100 9/11 survivors to COVID-19.

We will never forget their love and friendship. To continue their legacy, we must learn to transcend our grief.

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  • Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation


    There is still time to apply for significant compensation if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers that doctors at the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) have linked to the WTC toxic dust. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program — or any other governmental agency. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a cancer survivor is made aware their cancer was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

    For those who died from their WTC-linked cancers, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.

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Please help spread the word about the strict two-year deadline to register a claim

Many people have tried to complete the VCF application on their own, only to learn that it requires answers to hundreds of questions and many documents to download. It would be our pleasure to help you complete the process in order to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Please call us for a free consultation.

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A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying. You undoubtedly have questions about your disease and how you will pay for treatment. Lawyers at Barasch & McGarry ensure you understand the complex requirements and help devise the best strategies for obtaining compensation and appropriate medical care under the Zadroga Act. Contact our law firm online or call 888-351-9421. The initial consultation is free, so it costs you nothing to find out whether a lawyer can help.
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