Helpful tips on coping with the Sept. 11 anniversary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 02, 2002
Belmont, MA - As the first anniversary of Sept. 11 quickly approaches, many children and adults will experience heightened anxiety as images, sounds and memories are reintroduced through television, radio and print media. Below are tips from McLean Hospital clinicians on how to better cope with the anniversary.
Tips for parents
- A family may want to recognize the anniversary together in a personal way, depending on the depth of their loss. Children should be encouraged to give ideas about how to memorialize the event. Keeping activities understandable and brief can be helpful to children's comprehension of memorialization. Examples of memorials for kids and families might be hanging a flag in a significant place, praying together, drawing a patriotic picture for the front door, doing something special for a neighbor or teacher, sending letters to family or friends who they care about.
- Reemphasize safety at schools, airports, churches, city buildings and public events by talking to children about the procedures that have become more of our lives since 9/11.
- Tell children now that the anniversary is approaching and answer their questions honestly. Children should be allowed to anticipate it so they won't think something bad is happening again if they see year-old footage on television.
Tips for everyone
- Acknowledge your feelings of fear, anger and grief; talk with others about the tragedy and your feelings.
- Participate in community ceremonies that will be held across the country to remember and honor the dead and wounded, and rededicate yourself to the principles for which our nation stands.
- Draw strength from your spiritual or religious beliefs and traditions.
- Understand that the strong feelings of grief can resurface sporadically even a year, and longer, after the events, and that such feelings are normal. Consult a medical or mental health professional if feelings of grief and loss or fears stemming from the event become chronic and impair your daily activities and relationships.