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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
NY children suffer trauma
Excavators are still removing the physical wreckage
Tens of thousands of New York schoolchildren are suffering some kind of psychological damage as a result of the 11 September terror attacks on the city, says a survey.

The study by Columbia University questioned 8,000 children in 94 schools.

He still has a fear that there will be a place he likes and someone will come and blow it up

Father of six-year-old-son Tai Christman
Some 87% showed one or more symptoms of post-traumatic stress such as major depression, panic attacks and chronic nightmares.

About 10% showed six or more symptoms - enough to be diagnosed with the disorder.

Many have also developed agoraphobia - the fear of open places.

Wake-up call

Researchers were particularly surprised to find that children throughout the city - not just near ground zero - showed symptoms of several psychiatric problems.

The attacks left a gaping wound in the heart of New York
"The school system, above all, has to be aware of the fact that they are trying to do a job with students who are very troubled because of 11 September," said Christina Hoven, a Columbia University psychiatric epidemiologist who led the study.

Schools Chancellor Harold Levy said the study was a "wake-up call".

He said the report, which was paid for with US Government disaster money, would be used to target resources such as counselling to schools.

Researchers also said younger children, girls, and those whose family members were at the World Trade Center - whether they were killed, hurt or unharmed - were more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders.

Parents from Battery Park City, the school closest to Ground Zero, said their children were still recovering.

Kim Christman said her six-year-old-son Tai continued to have sleepless nights.

"He still has a fear that there will be a place he likes and someone will come and blow it up," she told the New York Daily News.

See also:

14 Nov 01 | Americas
New York children's crash trauma
13 Sep 01 | Education
City schools re-open with counselling
12 Sep 01 | Education
Children 'need to talk' about attacks
12 Dec 01 | NYC Out of the ashes
Part four: Young Americans
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