While much attention is given to physical health problems related to individuals’ exposure to toxic fumes on 9/11, often people overlook the mental toll. The symptoms of these problems can be more difficult to recognize and often victims are reluctant to admit the extent of their mental heath problems. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, thousands of 9/11 first responders have dealt with the crippling anguish of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Mailman School of Public Health recently released a study about the mental health effects of the attacks and found a high prevalence of PTSD and depression among rescue and recovery workers and those who witnessed the deadly attacks. Approximately 5,896 people are still afflicted with these mental issues, which comprises approximately one-fifth of the 30,000 who were studied as part of the research. The results were published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.
According to researchers, those who still struggle with depression and PTSD have difficulty with social interactions and employment. The prevalence of their symptoms is directly correlated to the extent of their 9/11 exposure. Overall, these people experience a much lower quality of life and poorer health. Those who authored the study argue that the results call for greater attention to the mental effects of such disasters and a more rigorous screening process for those who are exposed to these types of catastrophes. This will make it easier to treat individuals for mental health problems. While compensation from the VCF is not available to victims of 9/11 PTSD (compensation is only offered to those who have been certified with WTC physical illnesses), medical treatment is available for those who are suffering.
The attacks of September 11 affected millions of individuals in many different ways. Many are still suffering the effects of these attacks today. If you have a health problem that you believe is connected with your exposure on 9/11, you should contact the respected New York attorneys at Barasch, McGarry Salzman & Penson to learn more about your options.