For Parents: How To Help After A Terrorist Attack

For many people, the best way to deal with a tragedy is by joining with others and helping out. Feeling like you have a positive purpose and keeping busy after the violence can start the healing process. Here are a few things you can do to help:

Make a donation or start a drive. If possible, make a cash donation to the American Red Cross by calling 800-HELP-NOW. Although the national office of the Red Cross does not accept donations of food and clothing from individuals, find out if the local chapter of your Red Cross needs and accepts donations of clothing and canned goods. You can also help start a drive in your community. Call 800-GIVE-LIFE to make an appointment to donate blood, and encourage friends, neighbors, and family members who are at least 17 years of age to donate.

Volunteer your services and expertise. According to Red Cross spokespersons, if you are certified in CPR, first aid, or have had emergency medical training and you live in the New York area, you may be able to help. Call 212-875-2067; 212-875-2068; or 212-872-2069 to find out how. Mental health professionals (such as psychologists and licensed social workers) are also needed to provide counseling to victims at shelters that are being set up in Manhattan and the surrounding area.

Listen and offer your support. Offer comfort and support to family members, friends, neighbors, and community members. Be a good listener—many people have stories to tell, and want to hear your stories. Spend time with loved ones, sharing feelings, thoughts, and prayers with them.

Attend local vigils and ceremonies. Plan or take part in prayer ceremonies, memorial services, and other events in your neighborhood or community. Even if you don’t know anyone directly involved in the attacks, you can still grieve for the loss of lives and let those left behind know that you care.

Reviewed by: Neil Izenberg, MD
Date reviewed: September 2001

Reprinted from with permission.
Copyright 2001. The Nemours Foundation.