We are here to help

Dear Editor:

For many people in Hudson County who were close to the events of September 11, the second anniversary of the disaster will foster increased stress. The 9/11 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program is available to help residents of Hudson County, or anywhere in the country, who were directly affected by the events of September 11.

About the program — The 9/11 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program offers mental health treatment at little or no cost. It is co-sponsored by the American Red Cross, The September 11th Fund and The Mental Health Association of New York City. Treatment can include counseling, psychotherapy, medication and substance abuse services. Those eligible to enroll can choose their own licensed practitioners anywhere in the country. Also, reimbursement for treatment is retroactive to September 11, 2001. That means if you have received mental health treatment since the day of the initial attacks, out-of-pocket costs for those services may be reimbursed if you are eligible for the program.

Many Hudson County residents are eligible to participate. Eligible individuals include those who lost a family member, were injured, worked or lived in The World Trade Center area or at The Pentagon (whether or not they were at work on 9/11/01), were evacuated from the area, have a child that went to school nearby, were an official rescue or recovery worker, worked at Ronald Reagan Airport, or are a family member located anywhere in the country, or shared a home with any of those listed, at the time of the attacks.

As the second anniversary is here, the need for support and treatment may increase. Please tell your friends, family and co-workers about this program. So far more than 5,000 people have enrolled to receive benefits, but we know that thousands more need assistance. We are here to help, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can apply for enrollment in the program by contacting 1-800-LIFENET (1-800-543-6368), a 24-hour multilingual hotline service operated by The Mental Health Association of New York City, or by visiting www.9-11mentalhealth.org. Thank you.

Gerald McCleery, Ph.D.
Director, Mental Health Benefit Program


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