Mental Health Assessments and Treatment
Resources Available Following Tragedy in Boston
Mass 211 and SMH & Partnership Launches
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BOSTON - April 24, 2013 - To assist in the mental recovery from the recent Boston Marathon attack, the Boston-area nonprofit, Screening for Mental Health, Inc. is partnering with Mass 211 and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Hotline to provide the public with online mental health assessments and treatment resources at [ http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001WYEqktnqJBRSDTIja6YQr1pqLIlRBSQRyROZPxFyFeEyJRW9cyF7bmdfdcmS2UJ_Iho6U3HZU3e-BXKoII2gRK2WuqtDB4k5RHCN0niMdGZxQsmXAWmQeA== ]www.StayStrongBoston.org.
The website, created with support from an initiative with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Suicide Prevention Program, will take individuals to a mental health assessment and information on how to contact the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline.
"[ http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001WYEqktnqJBRSDTIja6YQr1pqLIlRBSQRyROZPxFyFeEyJRW9cyF7bmdfdcmS2UJ_Iho6U3HZU3e-BXKoII2gRK2WuqtDB4k5RHCN0niMdGZxQsmXAWmQeA== ]
StayStrongBoston.org will help individuals assess if they are struggling with a mental health concern, educate friends and family members on what to do if a loved one is at risk, and provide individuals with the resources to talk to a mental health professional about their own or a loved one's situation," said Douglas G. Jacobs, M.D., associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the founder of Screening for Mental Health, Inc. "Traumatic events can trigger signs of distress in those affected by a crisis. It doesn't matter what your relationship was to the bombings in Boston-it is important to reach out for help if you are showing any signs of distress."
According to SAMHSA, signs of emotional distress following incidents of mass violence may include:
• Eating or sleeping too much or too little
• Pulling away from people and things
• Having low or no energy
• Feeling numb or like nothing matters
• Having unexplained aches and pains like constant stomachaches or headaches
• Feeling helpless or hopeless
• Excessive smoking, drinking or using drugs (including prescription medication)
• Feeling unusually confused or forgetful
• Yelling or fighting with family or friends
• Having thoughts or memories you can't get out of your head
• Thinking of hurting or killing yourself or someone else
• Unable to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school
These changes-both physical and emotional-are normal and most often temporary. Following the recent bombings, some individuals will be more vulnerable to these effects than others. Survivors of the attack, loved ones of the victims, first responders and community members living in close proximity to the bombings and lockdown are at a greater risk. These signs of distress can appear immediately following a traumatic event and usually improve over time. If the symptoms interfere with daily life or if the symptoms become worse, it is important that individuals seek professional help.
"Trauma reactions such as stress and anxiety or depression are normal at this time," said Lynne Pizette, Director of Mass 211. "It's important to allow yourself permission to experience these reactions. Take care of yourself the best you can, and ask for help from others if you need it."
Anonymous self assessments for PTSD, depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns are available at [ http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001WYEqktnqJBRSDTIja6YQr1pqLIlRBSQRyROZPxFyFeEyJRW9cyF7bmdfdcmS2UJ_Iho6U3HZU3e-BXKoII2gRK2WuqtDB4k5RHCN0niMdGZxQsmXAWmQeA== ]www.StayStrongBoston.org. After completing a confidential screening, individuals will receive feedback and a referral to treatment resources if warranted.
Screening for Mental Health Inc. (SMH) is the non-profit organization that first introduced the concept of large-scale mental health screenings with its flagship program, National Depression Screening Day, in 1991. SMH programs include both in-person and online programs for depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, alcohol problems, and suicide prevention.
Mass 2-1-1 is an easy to remember telephone number that connects callers to information about critical health and human services available in their community. It serves as a resource for finding government benefits and services, nonprofit organizations, support groups, volunteer opportunities, donation programs, and other local resources.
Always a confidential call, Mass 2-1-1- maintains the integrity of the 9-1-1 system saving that vital community resource for life and death emergencies. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is an easy way to find or give help in your community. Mass 2-1-1 responds immediately during times of crisis, to field calls regarding the crisis and to direct callers to services most appropriate for their needs.