UB School of Social Work Posts Online Suggestions for Coping with Traumatizing Effects of Terrorist Attacks

Release Date: October 17, 2001

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The School of Social Work at the University at Buffalo has developed a Web site that offers online information and resources for those who are having personal difficulty coping with the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and its aftermath.

The site can be found at http://www.socialwork.buffalo.edu/Trauma.htm and is intended both for mental-health professionals and the general public.

It is the result of a brain-storming session by Lawrence Shulman, dean of the School of Social Work, and social work faculty members who were looking for ways the school could help in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.

"We felt we needed to address the personal impact on our social-work students, as well as the impact the tragedy was having on their clients and how they could help their clients cope," said Shulman.

The idea for a Web site for students soon broadened, he said, to provide information for a more general audience.

"We realized it also could be helpful to members of the community and other mental-health professionals in the community," Shulman said.

"We understood that the impact of the terrorist attack would continue over time, and that some of the information would be useful immediately, while other aspects of the site would be useful over the next several months."

The site offers information on the various reactions people may be experiencing, ranging from shock, anxiety and fear, to difficulty making decisions and sleeplessness, and offers suggestions on how people can cope with their reactions.

It also looks at the impact the tragedy can have on children, and offers suggestions on how to talk to them about the attack and how to reassure them. The site looks at common reactions children have to traumatic events and ways to help them deal with the tragedy.

The site also offers information on the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety disorders, as well as the prevention and mitigation of disabling stress. And it emphasizes the importance of taking care of oneself by getting enough sleep, eating well-balanced meals, trying to stick as much as possible to regular routines, seeking support from others and taking time to reflect on what has happened.

In addition, the site lists links to agencies and to resource materials that may benefit people struggling with the emotional impact of the disaster, including how to cope with the general tensions and depressions resulting from the attack and a clinical referral service on how to find a qualified therapist.

Other resources include links to the National Institutes of Mental Health, The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, The American Red Cross and The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc.

Media Contact Information

Christine Vidal
Director of News Content
Community Engagement, International Education
Tel: 716-645-4607
vidal@buffalo.edu