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Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK
Terror victims get mental health care
WTC victims
20,000 people were present during the attacks on the WTC

Two US charities have agreed to pay for the extended mental health care of hundreds of thousands of people directly affected by last year's attacks on New York and Washington.

WTC mourner
Many Americans were traumatised by the attacks
The American Red Cross and the September 11th Fund say they will pay for psychotherapy, drug or alcohol dependency treatment, medications and hospital care.

The mental health care programme is thought to be the most ambitious of its kind ever undertaken by charities to address the emotional needs of disaster victims.

The two charities expect to spend nearly $100 million on the programme in the next three to five years.

Traumatised

Hundreds of thousands of people are believed to be eligible for help.

They include the families of people who were killed in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, rescue workers and their families, people evacuated from the buildings, and children in the schools around them.

The charities came up with the idea because they knew that many people would need counselling and other treatment - but that they themselves may not realise that for months, or even years.

So far fewer people than expected have made use of the psychiatric services which have been available.

However, surveys in New York indicate that significant numbers of people are suffering from depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

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The BBC's Jane Standley
"The programme is thought to be the most ambitious of its kind ever undertaken"
See also:

31 Oct 01 | Americas
16 Aug 02 | Americas
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