Preparing for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

As September 11th, 2011 approaches, the leaders of law enforcement and security organizations should begin to anticipate the potential emotional and behavioral effects of the anniversary on personnel, especially those with direct 9/11 experiences and exposures. Attention to this anniversary by the public and the media is likely to be more intense than in prior years, and a flood of stories and images related to the catastrophic attacks will undoubtedly stir up strong emotions for anyone even remotely associated with the events.

While certainly not all veterans of 9/11 response and recovery operations developed PTSD or other diagnosable mental health conditions, many, if not most, experience powerful traumatic stress reactions during and after their involvement at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Traumatic stress reactions and traumatic memories are highly subject to being restimulated by reminders a threatening event, especially those made very public and visible during the anniversary of a disaster or terrorist attack. When rekindled, traumatic stress reactions can resurface in powerful, uncomfortable and disruptive ways. They can psychologically transport individuals right back to the time and place of the disaster and reignite the same thoughts and feelings, both emotional and physical, that were experienced on the day of the event.

Some research suggests that PTSD and traumatic stress symptoms do not directly degrade the performance of law enforcement and security personnel, but the indirect effects resulting from disrupted sleeping and eating patterns, difficulties concentrating and strong emotional reactions such as grief or anger certainly can impact performance, especially under high-stress conditions.

XBRM’s latest white paper, Preparing for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11: Anticipating the Effects of Traumatic Stress on Law Enforcement and Security Personnel“, is intended for those in leadership positions in law enforcement, public safety and private security organizations. Efforts to raise awareness about the possible emotional fallout of the 9/11 anniversary and strategies for coping should begin well in advance of September. The paper introduces some of the key concepts in traumatic stress, addresses the potential impact on the wellness and performance of law enforcement and security personnel, and offers some suggestions for managing emotional and behavioral challenges that will likely accompany this very significant anniversary.

Please accept my offer to download this free white paper and use the ideas discussed within to begin a discussion in your organization or agency about how the anniversary may impact your workforce, especially those tasked with high-stress assignments protecting the community or your company in the weeks leading up to and immediately after this 10th anniversary of 9/11.


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