, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp 429-433

Project liberty: a public health response to New Yorkers' mental health needs arising fromthe World Trade Center terrorist attacks

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Abstract

The September 11th terrorist attacks had a dramatic impact on the mental health of millions of Americans. The impact was particularly severe in New York City and surrounding areas within commuting distance of the World Trade Center. With support from the federal government, state and local mental health authorities rapidly mounted a large-scale public health intervention aimed at ameliorating the traumatic stress experienced by residents of the disaster area. The resulting program, named Project Liberty, has provided free public educational and crisis counseling services to tens of thousands of New Yorkers in its initial months of operation. Individuals served vary widely in the severity of experienced trauma and associated traumatic reactions. Data from logs kept by Project Liberty workers suggest that individuals with the most severe reactions are being referred to longer-term mental health treatment services.