Archive for Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Expert provides tips on handling stress from tragedy

October 3, 2001

As all of America tries to absorb and handle the events since terrorist attacks on Sept 11, a Tonganoxie social worker offers some advice.

Ron Bottorff, who practices in Lawrence, said his office hasn't seen much of an increase in people seeking counseling or other help after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"I think that's probably going to happen over the longer haul," he said. "I think those people who at the very beginning viewed the television reports over and over again could experience some type of symptoms. They can start internalizing that stuff. That mimics depression gloom and doom, sadness and anxiousness."

While Bottorff said some anxiety over the recent events and about America's future is normal, he encourages people to be watchful for changes in the behavior of friends and loved ones.

"When people start withdrawing into themselves is a real warning there's a danger there," he said. "They're not processing their feelings and thoughts with other people."

Americans are treading a thin line between wanting to shut out the horror of the Sept. 11 attacks and knowing that the nation must not forget about the attacks.

"It's healthy to pull back away from it for a little while," he said. "But we can't forget. We need to be on guard and understand that evil exists in our world."

The nation changed on Sept. 11, and that may be difficult for some people to accept. In addition, the country is facing an uncertain future both economically and militarily and that can be unsettling, Bottorff said.

Families should take special care with their children. He believes talk and more talk is vital to ensuring children are able to handle the changes that have occurred and will occur within the United States.

"I think it's important for families to process those things for younger kids and teen-agers," he said. "That's where we draw our strength, too, from family. I don't think you give kids false hope. But you give reassurances that you will do all you can to protect them."

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