MENTAL HEALTH - 2013 BOSTON MARATHON VOLUNTEERS
Over the past several months, we've all been busy getting back to normal activities, finding ways to heal and thinking about the 2014 Boston Marathon. Whether you volunteered in Boston or provided support at the start line, we know that everyone has experienced reactions to the marathon bombing tragedy. When people are involved in traumatic and overwhelming experiences, it's helpful stay connected to one another and have opportunities to share our experiences. The B.A.A. and AllOne Health Resources are proud to offer an opportunity to come together to heal, share, and move forward.
WBZ-Boston takes a look back at the 2013 Boston Marathon and interviews some individuals who were directly affected.
To view the video, click the link below:
To view the webinar video that was hosted on September 25, please click the link below:
BOSTON MARATHON VOLUNTEERS - ONGOING SUPPORT
Our community continues to heal following the tragic events on April 15, 2013 and our thoughts remain with the victims' families, to those who were injured, those who responded to the incident, and to all those who witnessed this tragedy. We have witnessed healing in many different forms and the B.A.A. will continue connecting our volunteer community with a mixture of opportunities that are known to cultivate healing.
- Three B.A.A. Volunteer Support Meetings were held as an opportunity to gather and talk with fellow marathon volunteers.
- Phone numbers have been supplied for those that prefer one-on-one communication.
- Literature has been presented for those who find solace unaccompanied.
- The onefundboston.org is available for those who find a financial contribution to be a source of healing.
- We partnered with the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and the interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to nurture those in need of ceremonious healing.
- Tickets to a New England Revolution match against the Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium were offered to all volunteers as a way to gather with friends, family and other volunteers in an entirely different setting.
- Many other smaller events have been created and attended by various groups of volunteers.
- Through the Massachusetts Department of Health we have listed ongoing resources below.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS MANY PEOPLE EXPERIENCE FOLLOWING A TRAUMATIC STRESS INCIDENT
- Trouble sleeping of having bad dreams
- Recurring images or flashbacks
- Strong emotions such as anger, guilt, anxiety, fear or sadness
- Flatness or disinterest in life or routine
- Startled easily, feeling cautious
- Avoiding reminders related to the event
- Headaches, diarrhea, nausea, or other developing physical ailments
- Difficulty remembering the event
- Substance use increases
PHONE NUMBERS FOR SUPPORT
The Boston Public Health Commission will continue to provide trauma counseling and support over the phone. Please call 617.534.5050, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., to speak with a trained clinician.
The Federal Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, can provide immediate counseling to anyone who needs help in dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy. This free, confidential, and multilingual crisis support service is also available via SMS (text TalkWithUs to 66746) to anyone experiencing psychological distress as a result of this event. Callers and texters are connected to trained and caring professionals from crisis counseling centers in the network. The Helpline staff provides confidential counseling, referrals to local services that are immediately available, and other needed support services.
The American Red Cross provides Disaster Mental Health Services during local, regional and national disaster incidents. All chapters nationwide have been advised to expect calls from individuals and families that may have been affected by the events at the Boston Marathon. Contact information for your local chapter is available on the American Red Cross website: www.redcross.org.
Dealing with the Effects of Trauma - A Self-Help Guide: This Federal Disaster Distress guide provides more in-depth information on recovering from a traumatic event and is geared toward those whose reactions may be lingering.
Effects of Traumatic Stress after Mass Violence, Terror, or Disaster: Developed by the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, this publication provides information regarding normal reactions to abnormal situations. It includes descriptions of common traumatic stress reactions, problematic stress responses, and symptoms of PTSD and acute stress disorder.
Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event - Managing Your Stress: This tip sheet outlines the common signs of stress after a disaster and provides stress reduction strategies.
Tips for Talking with and Helping Children and Youth Cope after a Disaster or Traumatic Event: This fact sheet helps parents and teachers recognize and address problems in children and teens affected by the trauma after an act of violence. It describes signs of stress reactions that are common in young trauma survivors at different ages, and offers tips on how to help.
Tips for Managing and Preventing Stress - A Guide for Emergency Response and Public Safety Workers: This fact sheet gives organizational and individual tips for stress prevention and management for emergency response workers and public safety workers. It describes normal reactions to a disaster, signs of the need for stress management, and ways to handle stress.
A MESSAGE FROM TOM GRILK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, B.A.A.
As we watch the latest episode in this agonizing story about Monday's cowardly attack on Boston, I want to be sure to let everyone who was kind enough to work on this year's marathon and marathon-related events know just how deep our gratitude is to everyone, and how proud we are to be associated with each and every one of you.
On Monday, everyone wearing a yellow or white or blue B.A.A. jacket performed in a manner that has been recognized around the world as the ultimate expression of how it is that people bring the human spirit to its highest level. Some of you ran to the bomb site because help was needed. Some directed runners who would otherwise have been lost and terrified. Some gave food. Some gave blankets. Some provided medical care in the most horrifying circumstances. The list is endless.
And the support of volunteers which has drawn a stunning degree of worldwide acclaim includes EVERYONE. The fact that runners were willing to accept the direction and help of volunteers who were there on Monday is a reflection of the confidence that has been inspired over the years by the action of ALL of the volunteers who work at B.A.A. events. There is a reservoir of confidence that these runners take from the actions of all volunteers, whether they were on the road or in the medical tent on Monday, or stuffing bags and envelopes in Wilmington or Framingham, or doing any of the hundreds of other things that so many of you have done.
The runners and everyone know that when they see a person in a B.A.A. jacket or receive the benefits of the work of unseen B.A.A. volunteers, they are dealing with human beings of the highest quality who simply will not settle for what is ordinary; people for whom excellence is normal and whose actions transcend excellence whenever and wherever it is needed.
Yesterday President Obama met with a small group of volunteers, in a session separate from the large interfaith service held in Boston. He heard what you have done. He met volunteers who had to wear new jackets on Thursday because the jackets that they wore on Monday were too bloody. He knows who you are and what you do. He was in awe.
And it is an awe that applies to ALL of you, whatever you do, because you all bring precisely that same spirit of selflessness.
The other thing we told the President is that it is the honor of a lifetime to work with all of you. People will point to you in your jackets and say "She, or he, is one of them. They are the ones who did it when Boston was attacked." The world has seen what you do, and the world will be as in awe of you as the President of the United States.
Tom Grilk, for the B.A.A.
A MESSAGE FROM ELISABETH WORTHING, VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, B.A.A.
The 2013 Boston Marathon is a story of extreme courage, love, care, talent and resilience. Our volunteers displayed these qualities in countless ways.
It was a perfectly orchestrated marathon and the tragic acts of that day can’t rob us of that accomplishment. We achieved that precision together and your contribution should be celebrated. Please take time to recognize your individual and collective work.
Every year the Boston Athletic Association puts the world’s greatest sporting event into the hands of our 8,500 volunteers. On behalf of John Hancock Financial, our principal sponsor, and all of our other sponsors and supporters, we have never been more proud of your work.
When chaos and confusion struck you reacted intuitively and leapt into action whether you were in Boston or elsewhere. Your contributions during that uncertain time displayed the true compassion, spirit and professionalism Boston Marathon volunteers are known for.
We know that all of you were deeply affected by the tragedy on Monday, April 15. If you would like to share with us anything at all, please contact us in whatever way you would like. We encourage you to share your stories as a powerful way of healing.
If you are experiencing overwhelming feelings of anxiety, anger or fear, please reach out to a professional. We have a list of resources posted at the button below:
We all continue to cope with the tragic events of this year and marvel at the many heroic actions that followed. We also know you are already looking forward to next year. We would be proud to welcome you back for the 2014 Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 and couldn’t do it without you.