9/11 relatives see family support waning

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070906/ap_on_re_us/sept11_survey_1;_ylt=AsAS_H6lvhVEhrnXJcdkQppH2ocA

9/11 relatives see family support waning

By FRANK ELTMAN, Associated Press Writer

More relatives of 9/11 victims say support from family has waned or even stopped six years after the terrorist attacks, indicating fatigue or the feeling the relatives should go on with their lives.

The annual survey released Thursday by the World Trade Center Family Center found a 19 percent drop in "strong support" from in-laws and other relatives since last year.

"There probably is some Sept. 11 fatigue, yes," said Dr. Minna Barrett, director of research and training at the Long Island-based center. The survey involved 100 adult family members and relatives of victims who died in the trade center attacks in 2001.

Representative comments from survey respondents included: "Some family members say to get on with it now," or "We get on each other's nerves" or "We were originally inseparable and now we are going our separate ways."

In last year's survey, 61 percent of respondents said they were getting strong support from family while 42 percent said so this year; 23 percent say they are getting "poor or no support," an increase from 15 percent a year ago.

"Family dynamics are complicated," Barrett said. "The person who died could have been the one who was the glue in the family. ... It could also be something much more subtle. Perhaps a family hasn't figured out how to reset the chessboard, so to speak."

Barrett said a reasonable portion of the bereaved people who sought help after the attacks are doing well and moving forward, but others are just now seeking help from the center, particularly first responders.

She also noted that once-plentiful financial resources have become scarce — another sign of potential Sept. 11 fatigue.

"The mental health professionals have underestimated what the impact of grief is, certainly underestimated the level of traumatic grief," she said. "We have learned it is more deeply entrenched, and we are learning more about the cyclical aspects."

The center opened just days after the World Trade Center attack and has treated more than 2,000 people with mental health and other issues. Its suburban location was chosen because many of the victims were commuters.


On the Net: http://www.wtcfamilycenter.org.