Remembering September 11, 2001
It’s been 16 years since that fateful day, September 11, 2001 when all of our worlds changed. I can still think of the feelings that I had that morning, worried about our family in New York, concerned about the lasting impact this act of terror would have on our world, and struggling as a parent to explain to our young children how this could happen. My son struggled to make sense of this horrific attack with his six year old brain and his view of the world. I remember struggling to try to explain to him how this could have happened when none of us had answers. I remember telling him that bad people “stole the planes”. He wanted to know how they could have gotten the keys. His most perplexing question was “how could G-d let this happen?” The challenges of parenthood.
As I look back on that day, while we were not personally directly impacted by the terrorist act, I am sure that like many Americans, we could have used the expertise of mental health professionals. It never occurred to me at the time as our family plugged along with our daily lives. We could have used some counseling on stress reduction. We could have used some help with how to answer our kid’s questions. We didn’t seek that out, nor did most families. Why not?
In 16 years, times have hopefully changed in terms of the availability and acceptability of seeking mental health care after tragedy strikes. I think of the natural disasters that our state and country have experienced. I know that after these disasters, mental health professionals are now part of first response teams. I hope and pray that families take advantage of these services. I also think about the focus on mental health that many employers and schools now have after tragedy strikes. Counselors are part of the recovery process. We’ve come so far after 16 years.
So today, as I think back on the stress of that day in 2001 and its aftermath, I pray that the survivors continue to access mental health services if needed. I know that mental health services are available to those impacted by our recent natural disasters, and hope that they continue to be available during the long recovery process. I am thankful that we have come so far in 16 years, but we still have so far to go in terms of mental health care availability. At Highland, we are dedicated to making sure that everyone who needs care gets that care at the right time and in the right place. It’s just what we do.