9/11 Responders Struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Americans took the time to reflect upon the events of that horrific day. Observances and ceremonies were conducted throughout the country to pay respect to the victims and to memorialize the heroes that emerged from that devastating day. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, but many more continue to acutely feel its after-effects.

Ten years later, many 9/11 first responders and those that followed them to “ground zero” to address the aftermath are not only experiencing severe physical ailments, but are suffering with serious mental health issues as well. The lives of these individuals have been forever changed as they continue to deal with the repercussions of that fateful day.

A Traumatic Impact

As millions around the world watched the terrifying and almost surreal scene unfold in the middle of New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, the impact was intensely magnified for those in close proximity to ground zero. After having been directly involved with such a traumatic event, thousands of responding firefighters, police personnel, doctors, nurses and even construction and utility workers developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety problems and depression in its wake.

Attempting to Heal

In January 2011, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was federally approved. This bill offers assistance to ground zero workers suffering from a physical or mental illness as a result of 9/11. It also establishes medical and mental health centers dedicated in part to the treatment of those affected by the travesty.

The Zadroga Act has greatly benefited workers and their families experiencing mental health issues. Those who might lack the financial means to receive treatment for depression , PTSD  and treatment for other mental health issues associated with the traumatic events of 9/11 are now able to get the help they need.