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Brookline organizing mental health support after marathon attack

Posted by Brock Parker  April 17, 2013 11:25 AM

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Health officials in Brookline are working to provide mental health support for local volunteers who provided medical assistance during the attack on the Boston Marathon Monday and may have been traumatized.

Members of the Brookline Medical Reserve Corp were volunteering along the marathon route Monday and several were on the staff in the medical tent in Copley Square.

Brookline Public Health Director Alan Balsam told the Board of Selectmen Tuesday night that the marathon bombing was a day of horror that will be etched in everyone’s memory, but especially in the minds of the first responders.

The town is working with the non-profit Brookline Community Mental Health Center to help provide support to the volunteers, he said.

Brookline is also reaching out to local veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and whom may have been traumatized by the attack. Balsam said events like the bombing have been known to stimulate symptoms of PTSD.

Thursday and Friday the Brookline Community Mental Health Center at 41 Garrison Road will hold drop-in hours for town residents and employees who wish to speak with staff and are having difficulty coping in the aftermath of the bombings.

The drop-in hours will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday (Update: the Center has added additional drop-in hours from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday), and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday. More information is available at the center’s website.

Selectmen praised the efforts of the medical workers, police and firefighters Monday, including the efforts to assist more than 100 marathon runners who took temporary shelter in Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline along the marathon route when the race was halted.

Selectmen Chairwoman Betsy DeWitt said the town believes that no Brookline residents were injured in the attack in Boston. She said she believes it was a miracle that so many emergency workers were on hand to help those who were injured.

“We all grieve for the victims and their families,” she said.

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