Project Liberty, the federally funded Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program managed by New York state after the
September 11 attacks, received a mixed review in a report in the September issue of Psychiatric Services.
"A high level of interagency collaboration, engagement of nongovernmental organizations to provide services, media education
efforts, and ongoing program evaluation all contributed to the program's successes," wrote Lloyd Sederer, M.D., medical director
of the New York State Office of Mental Health, and five colleagues.
They added, however, "[m]ental health professionals' limited experiences with trauma, options for funding treatment, duration
of clinical program, and existing needs-assessments methodologies all proved challenging."
The program, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, ran in two consecutive phases from September 12, 2001, to
December 31, 2004, offering crisis counseling, education, or outreach services to a total of 1.5 million people.
But crisis counseling and outreach programs are not enough to help the part of the exposed population that may require more
extensive treatment, said the report's authors. Better ways must be found to "identify those at risk of developing a serious
or persistent mental illness."
To be prepared for disasters, clinicians need better training and experience in trauma-informed care.
In addition, crisis counseling and education, while helpful, are not enough, said the authors. Neither short-term "cognitive
therapies" nor medications such as sedatives, tranquilizers, or antidepressants are paid for by the federal program, they
"[D]isaster-related mental health services must include funding for treatment," they stressed.
An abstract of "Lessons Learned From the New York State Mental Health Response to the September 11, 2001, Attacks" is posted
at <http://ps.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/62/9/1085>. The full article is posted at <http://ps.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/62/9/1085>.
Download citation file:
Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.
Read this week's Update
Sign Up for Psychiatric News Update newsletter