Coming up on the seventh anniversary of September 11, the New York City health department wanted to know how those affected are coping today. They released findings from the first study to assess 9-11's long-term effect on mental health today.
The results illuminate the day's lingering impact and the staggering difference between those living near the World Trade Center compared with the rest of Manhattan.
One in eight Lower Manhattan residents reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — 12.6 percent — three to four years after the attacks. Considering within six months only 1 percent of Manhattan as a whole reported PTSD symptoms, this is a significant finding. To see what else they found,
PTSD, it turns out, is not gender, color, or class blind. Women instead of men; African Americans and Hispanics instead of whites; and those earning less than $25,000 per year were all more likely to report symptoms. At 38 percent, residents who suffered injuries were most likely to be affected, and at 17 percent those caught in the dust that rushed through the streets were the second most.
While the disparity may seem self-evident, researches love to hypothesize. The constant reminders in the area, disruptions to routines, and the large number of residents evacuated from homes are posited theories; however, the correlation has not been studied.
While results from a follow-up 2007 survey will be released later this year, the current study calls for further and more in-depth monitoring of PTSD victims. As a temporary solution, the city is urging people to take advantage of its free mental health services.
Considering those still living around Ground Zero have an almost constant visual reminder of the events of the day, is the city doing enough to help those affected? What do you think income has to do with mental symptoms? Will we ever know the true extent of the attack's damage?