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We Need to Talk – Mental Health and the 9/11 Community

There are now 68 different types of cancer and dozens of respiratory illnesses that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has linked to exposure to Ground Zero toxins on 9/11 or during any part of the following 8 months. 

The heroes who came to Lower Manhattan as first responders on 9/11 or in the months afterwards as search-and-rescue, recovery, and clean-up workers know that the scars are often not only physical, but also mental.

Many of these individuals lost friends that day but bravely continued their heroic work, searching through the rubble for survivors and the bodies of the deceased, or even a piece of identification.

Unfortunately, a stigma persists about mental health and treatment, with many people still reluctant to acknowledge the symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other conditions preventing them from accessing treatment that could improve their quality of life, and sometimes save it. 

A recent report published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that many 9/11 first responders and rescue and recovery workers fear that seeking treatment for mental conditions could have negative consequences at their job. Other individuals are not sure where to find mental health resources.

Here are the facts:

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers cannot penalize employees in any way for having a mental health condition. And, with rare exceptions, you are not required to tell anyone about your condition or treatment.

There are also resources available if you need help – we have included a list below.

9/11 was a moment of trauma for an entire nation. Our first responders and rescue and recovery workers suffered disproportionately, and many of them are still in need. 

If you need help or know someone who does, reach out today.

Mental Health Resources:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – 800-662-HELP (4357)

National Institute of Mental Health Information Resource Center – 866-615-6464

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741

Veterans Crisis Line – 800-273-8255

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  • "Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson handled everything professionally and with patience. They always had time to answer all my questions and did what they promised. Thanks esp to Brian Calamaris Lee London, and Mariya Atanasova. Thank you." - William Collins, FDNY

  • "If I could give them six stars I would...don't even bother talking to anyone else concerning 9/11. The whole team worked night and day to deliver an outstanding settlement. They are honest, hard working and extremely professional. Just make the one phone call and let them do the rest." - Les Margulis, resident in the exposure zone

  • "I had a very good experience with Michael and Mariya. They made the process stress free. I would recommend this firm to anyone seeking assistance with 9/11 related illnesses." - JE Kirwan, worked in the exposure zone

  • "The people at this firm were just great. They were concern with making sure I was taken care of in every way possible. When I was given an award Mr. Barasch didn't think it was a fair amount and appealed the decision which got me a larger award. I am very satisfied with everything they did for me in the past and are willing to do for me and my family in the future." - Bob Wiecezak, FDNY-Retired

  • "Excellent law firm. Lee London and his staff were very responsive and always followed up with phone calls or emails. This firm is a strong example of what caring and personable lawyers are all about." - Letitia Egan, wife of client, volunteer in the exposure zone

  • 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.

    Register For Compensation

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.

Let a knowledgeable attorney help you figure it out

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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