Three days after the Boston Marathon explosions, health experts are concerned that people who witnessed them and/or got injured by them will experience mental health issues, such as post traumatic stress disorder.
Joyce Maguire Pavao, a psychologist who usually works in child welfare, told Huffington Post the tragedy is traumatic for “people that were involved, for those hurt, for those who saw them get hurt, for the people that helped afterwards.” And as the people of Boston return to their normal lives, PTSD and mental health problems may emerge in weeks, months and years after the trauma.
“Horrible images are ingrained in people’s minds, and there will be memories and triggers,” Pavao explained. “But you can manage them better if you have assistance, if you have someone to talk to.”
Across the city, trauma counselors, disaster chaplains and mental health professionals were dispatched to hospitals, churches and recovery resource centers to help those who are spiritually and emotionally drained and in shock, the article notes.
Lloyd Sederer, medical director of the New York State Office of Mental Health, said many witnesses to the Boston bombings may begin to experience a general sense of fear, mental replays of the encounter and nightmares in the days and possibly weeks following the attack. He cautioned that a minority could develop longer-lasting PTSD and related symptoms, such as sudden debilitating flashbacks, anxiety, social isolation and drug and alcohol abuse.
As security is heightened in Boston, public health officials suggest rendering additional and tighter support to those who have been physically and emotionally impacted by the gruesome event.